Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Checking for Matching Parentheses.

Checking for Matching Parentheses

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 4, 2013)

Unless you are writing very short documents, cleaning up can be one of the hardest parts of writing. The following macro double-checks your document, paragraph by paragraph, to determine if you have a balanced number of parentheses. The macro counts the number of left parentheses in each paragraph of your document and makes sure you have the same number of right parentheses. If you don't, the macro inserts a paragraph before the unbalanced paragraph indicating the error.

Sub CheckParens()
    Dim WorkPara As String
    Dim CheckP() As Boolean
    Dim NumPara As Integer, J As Integer
    Dim LeftParens As Integer, RightParens As Integer
    Dim MsgText As String

    NumPara = ActiveDocument.Paragraphs.Count
    ReDim CheckP(NumPara)

    MsgText = "***Unbalanced parens in the next paragraph"
    For J = 1 To NumPara
        CheckP(J) = False
        WorkPara = ActiveDocument.Paragraphs(J).Range.Text
        If Len(WorkPara) <> 0 Then
            LeftParens = CountChars(WorkPara, "(")
            RightParens = CountChars(WorkPara, ")")
            If LeftParens <> RightParens Then CheckP(J) = True
        End If
    Next J

    For J = NumPara To 1 Step -1
        If CheckP(J) Then
            Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory, Extend:=wdMove
            If J > 1 Then
                Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, _
                  Count:=(J - 1), Extend:=wdMove
            End If
            Selection.InsertParagraphBefore
            Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
            Selection.Style = "Normal"
            Selection.TypeText Text:=MsgText
        End If
    Next J
End Sub

Private Function CountChars(A As String, C As String) As Integer
    Dim Count As Integer
    Dim Found As Integer

    Count = 0
    Found = InStr(A, C)
    While Found <> 0
        Count = Count + 1
        Found = InStr(Found + 1, A, C)
    Wend
    CountChars = Count
End Function

Note that there are actually two macros here. The CountChars function is called from within the main CheckParens macro. It is this latter macro (CheckParens) that is the one you should actually invoke on your document. When the macro is finished, you can search through the document, looking for the wording "***Unbalanced parens" to see where you may have problems.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1308) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Checking for Matching Parentheses.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Resizing a Text Box in a Macro

Text boxes are easy to add to a document and manually resize, as needed. If you want to resize the text box in a macro, ...

Discover More

Automatically Adjusting Height for Text Boxes

Text boxes are often used to enhance the layout of documents. You may want a text box that adjusts its height automatically ...

Discover More

Seeing Excel's Program Window

Have you ever opened Excel to find that the window you saw yesterday is not the same as it is today? Sometimes, for various ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Using Consistent References

Some text references need to be consistent in many places throughout a document. Learn different ways you can ensure that ...

Discover More

Capitalizing the First Letter after a Colon

There are many rules in English grammar (and many exceptions to those rules.) One common rule of grammar is to capitalize the ...

Discover More

Quickly Moving Text with the Mouse

Drag-and-drop editing is a handy feature when you love to use the mouse. There are two ways you can move text using the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.