Screen Flip Flop with VBA

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 9, 2015)

There are many, many times when I work with two files at a time in Word. For instance, I may be reading one document and comparing it to another (and I don't want to use the Compare Documents feature). I always try to keep the document I am modifying in the top part of my screen, and the other document in the bottom part. Call it a personality quirk, but I find it easier to use the windows this way.

It can be a pain to repeatedly adjust the position of the windows and make sure that the proper file is at the top of the screen. Therefore, I developed a macro to handle this situation. You can use this handy little macro to switch which window is "on top" if you have two windows displayed on the screen. You will probably want to assign this to a toolbar button or a shortcut key, as it will be of little use if you need to keep calling it from the macro list. The following will work in Word 97:

Sub FlipFlop()
    If Windows.Count = 2 Then
        WordBasic.NextWindow
        WindowArrangeAll
    End If
End Sub

If you are using a later version of Word, then macro needs to changed just slightly:


Sub FlipFlop()
If Windows.Count = 2 Then
    WordBasic.NextWindow
    Windows.Arrange
End If
End Sub

Notice that these macros only work if (and only if) there are two windows on the screen. If there is more or less, then the macro does nothing at all.

There are undoubtedly VBA experts reading this tip who will notice right away that the command WordBasic.NextWindow could have been replaced with ActiveWindow.Next.Activate. (The VBA help indicates this is the VBA equivalent of the NextWindow command in WordBasic.) An interesting thing happens when you do this, however—the macro does not work. You can try this yourself by following these steps:

  1. Create two document windows on the screen. (Open two Word documents, and only two.)
  2. Choose Arrange All from the Window menu.
  3. Now start recording a macro; you can give it any name you want.
  4. Press Ctrl+F6, which makes the next window active.
  5. Choose Arrange All from the Window menu.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for two more iterations.
  7. Stop the macro recorder.
  8. Run the macro you just created.

When you do these steps, you will notice that the macro (the one that Word just created for you) bombs out on one of the ActiveWindow.Next.Activate commands. Probably a good bug item for Redmond, but the way around it is to use the WordBasic.NextWindow command instead.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (972) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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