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: Searching for Non-Black Text.

Searching for Non-Black Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 6, 2014)

When searching for text in a document, it is easy to search for formats such as "bold" or "italic." You can also search for "not bold" and "not italic." You can search for text of a specific color, but Word does not allow you to search for text other than a specific color. For instance, you cannot search for text that is "not black."

If you need to search for text that is not black, then the best way to do so is with a macro. Consider the following macro, which prompts you for your search text, and then looks for the first non-black instance of that text.

Sub FindNotBlack()
    With Selection.Find
        .ClearFormatting
        .Text = InputBox(prompt:="Enter the search text.", _
          Title:="Find Nonblack Text")
        Do While .Execute
            With Selection.Font
                If (.Color <> wdColorAutomatic) And _
                  (.Color <> wdColorBlack) Then
                    MsgBox "Found"
                    Exit Sub
                End If
            End With
        Loop
    End With
End Sub

Note that the macro checks to see if the color of the matched text is different from black (wdColorBlack) and from the automatic color (wdColorAutomatic). This is because the automatic color is black on most systems.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1387) 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: Searching for Non-Black Text.

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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