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: Mass Search and Replace.

Mass Search and Replace

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 6, 2014)

2

Over time it is very possible to collect a huge number of documents. At some point you may want to make the same change to each of the documents in the collection. For instance, you may need to change the company name within each document. Obviously you can open each document, make the change, and then save the document, but that process can quickly become tiring if you have hundreds or thousands of documents to process.

What to do? Consistent with the point that has been made in other issues of WordTips, anytime you have something that is mundane and tiresome to accomplish, you can often use a macro to handle the work for you. For instance, you could write a macro that would step through all the documents in a directory, load each in turn, search for and change the necessary text, and resave the document. This process is no different than the process you would follow manually, except that it is done under the control of the macro. This makes it much easier and faster.

The following is an example of a macro that could do the trick:

Public Sub MassReplace()
    With Application.FileSearch
        .LookIn = "C:\"             ' where to search
        .SearchSubFolders = True    ' search the subfolders
        .FileName = "*.doc"         ' file pattern to match

        ' if more than one match, execute the following code
        If .Execute() > 0 Then
            ' to display how many files this macro will access,
            ' uncomment the next line of code
'            MsgBox "Found " & .FoundFiles.Count & " file(s)."

            ' for each file you find, run this loop
            For i = 1 To .FoundFiles.Count
                ' open the file based on its index position
                Documents.Open FileName:=.FoundFiles(i)

                ' search and replace the company name
                selection.Find.ClearFormatting
                selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
                With selection.Find
                    .Text = "OldCompanyName"
                    .MatchCase = True
                    .Replacement.Text = "NewCompanyName"
                End With
                selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

                ' replace street address
                With selection.Find
                    .Text = "OldStreetAddress"
                    .Replacement.Text = "NewStreetAddress"
                End With
                selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

                ' replace the City, State, and Zip code
                With selection.Find
                    .Text = "OldCityStateAndZip"
                    .Replacement.Text = "NewCityStateAndZip"
                End With
                selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

                ' save and close the current document
                ActiveDocument.Close wdSaveChanges
            Next i
        Else
            ' if the system cannot find any files
            ' with the .doc extension
            MsgBox "No files found."
        End If
    End With
End Sub

This macro is quite powerful, and it allows you to not just change a company name, but also your company's address. All you need to do is make changes to specify which directory and drive to use in your search, as well as what the old and new company information is.

If dealing with macros is a little beyond what you want to tackle, there are also a number of different commercial products available that will work with Word documents. Various subscribers have suggested the following programs:

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1462) 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: Mass Search and Replace.

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

Hiding Gridlines

For those times when you remove the borders from your tables, Word provides a way that you can display non-printing ...

Discover More

Converting to Octal

If you need to do some work in the base-8 numbering system (octal), you'll love two worksheet functions provided by Excel for ...

Discover More

Cropping Graphics

Excel makes it easy to place a graphic in a worksheet. Once there, you may want to chop off a side (or two) of the graphic. ...

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)

Merging to Individual Files

The mail-merge feature in Word is a fast, easy way to create form letters addressed to many different people. Sometimes, ...

Discover More

Opening Word 2007 Files in Older Versions

Word 2007 uses a different file format than was used in previous versions of Word. This can cause some problems in opening ...

Discover More

Moving Quickly Between Directories

Want an easy way to move between directories using the Open dialog box? With just a little bit of up-front typing, you can ...

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 4 + 1?

2017-05-09 16:31:03

Manny

You can also use a tool from www.officefindreplace.com to automate this easily.


2016-02-07 08:03:20

Oje

Hello

I am just beginning to learn about macros and purchased the Word Tip online which has the instruction for replacing texts in multiple documents on page 150/151. However, I noticed that it did not make any provision for also searching for .doc files in sub folders in the Macro example for 2007 and above docs. The Macro example provided for docs before Word 2007 has the File application search and sub-folder functionality but the macros for 2007 and above does not search in sub-folders but I want my search to also include sub-folders.

This was the example provided for searches in the Word Tip electronic manual for Word 2007 and above docs.

Could someone provide the relevant tweaking that would include sub-folder search please? I need this urgently.

Public Sub MassReplace2()
Dim Directory As String
Dim FType As String
Dim FName As String

Directory = "d:temp"
FType = "*.doc"

ChDir Directory
FName = Dir(FType)
' for each file you find, run this loop
Do While FName <> ""
' open the file
Documents.Open FileName:=FName

' search and replace the address
selection.Find.ClearFormatting
selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
With selection.Find
.Text = "OldAddress"
.MatchCase = True
.Replacement.Text = "NewAddress"
End With
selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

' replace e-mail address
With selection.Find
.Text = "Oldemail"
.Replacement.Text = "Newemail"
End With
selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

' save and close the current document
ActiveDocument.Close wdSaveChanges

' look for next matching file
FName = Dir
Loop
End Sub


As noted, the above does not include any provision for sub-folder searches. I need a sample that will also search sub-folders because the files to be changed are not just in a single folder but in multiple sub-folders as well.

Thanks a lot for your anticipated help


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.