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: Automatically Inserting Brackets.

Automatically Inserting Brackets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 23, 2018)

4

Many different documents have many different requirements for their construction. For instance, you may have a document where it is necessary to put certain recurring words within brackets so that they stand out. (Some technical manuals use this convention to designate keystrokes, such as the [Enter] key.)

If you have a need such as this, you might find it helpful to simply type your text and then go back and later add the brackets. This is where a macro can come in handy to do the adding for you. For instance, you could select the word (double-click on it) and then run a macro that would add the brackets. The following macro will easily accomplish this task:

Sub AddBrackets()
 Dim iCount As Integer
 iCount = 1
 While Right(Selection.Text, 1) = " " Or _
 Right(Selection.Text, 1) = Chr(13)
 Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1, _
  Extend:=wdExtend
 iCount = iCount + 1
 Wend

 Selection.InsertAfter "]"
 Selection.InsertBefore "["
 Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=iCount
End Sub

The macro compensates for any spaces or paragraph marks at the end of your selection. When you are done running it, the insertion point is left at the end of the original selection. You can assign your macro to either a keyboard shortcut or to a custom toolbar tool.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1520) 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: Automatically Inserting Brackets.

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

Embedding an Excel Worksheet

Word and Excel are both integral parts of Microsoft's Office suite of applications. As such, Word allows you to embed ...

Discover More

Closing Documents after a Hyperlink

When you click a hyperlink that takes you to another document, Word dutifully opens the new document in its own window. ...

Discover More

Adding Diagonal Borders

Borders on all sides of a cell are easy to do in Excel. You can also create diagonal borders that run right through the ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Changing Roman Numerals to Arabic

In some documents Roman numerals might be used quite a bit. If you ever want to change the Roman numerals to their Arabic ...

Discover More

Options in Creating New Files

You'd think that Word would be consistent, right? Wrong! Here's one example where Word is anything but consistent when it ...

Discover More

Invisible Macros

When configuring Word, you may want to add macros to either menus or toolbars. If you can't find your macros while doing ...

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 5 - 2?

2016-02-01 07:06:28

Karol

Many thank for that makro, it really helps me, but I want to make a step forward: I have a text in table, so I want to add brackets when i highlight a column. Of course adding bracket is in one step. Every cell have one, two or three digits.
Could You help me with that?
Regards
Karol


2015-09-14 20:50:52

Matt S

Thanks again, Allen. I do appreciate it!


2015-09-10 21:27:29

awyatt

Matt: Thanks for the kind words.

Unfortunately, it won't work in Word 2008 for the Mac. That version of the program is the ONLY one in which Microsoft didn't include VBA support. Why? I have no idea, and it is very frustrating.

The only thing you can do in order to use the macros is to upgrade to a newer version of Word.

-Allen


2015-09-10 20:52:43

Matt S

Hi, Allen. I just discovered your amazing site today. Thanks for going to so much effort. It's incredible.

I need to regularly insert words in brackets, which is very time consuming. This work around seems perfect, but I was just wondering whether this macro would be compatible with MS Word 2008 for Mac Version 12.3.6. Thanks for any advice you can give.


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.