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: Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box.

Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 3, 2016)

Bronwyn asked if there was a way to force the Open dialog box to stay visible so that multiple files could be opened consecutively. While multiple documents can be opened at the same time using the Open dialog box, this isn't want Bronwyn wanted to do.

One solution—that only tangentially involves Word—is to use the Windows Explorer to display the files in a folder. Open an Explorer window that shows all the document files. You can then double-click on files, or create a selection set of files and right-click on them and choose Open. The window is continually available, and you don't need to worry about repeatedly displaying the Open dialog box.

If you prefer a solution directly within Word, just remember that Word is very configurable, which means you can change just about every aspect of the program. This includes the behavior of the Open dialog box. All you need to do is create a replacement for the FileOpen command, as in the following:

Public Sub FileOpen()
    Dim err_handler
    On Error GoTo err_handler

    With Dialogs(wdDialogFileOpen)
        .Name = "*.*"
        Do While .Show <> 0
            .Name = "*.*"
        Loop
    End With
    Exit Sub

err_handler:
    If Err.Number = 5174 Then
        MsgBox "You can open only one file at a time.", vbCritical
        Resume Next
    Else
        MsgBox Err.Number & vbCrLf & Err.Description, vbExclamation
    End If
End Sub

With this macro in place, whenever you choose Open from the File menu, Word displays the Open dialog box with All Files as the specified file type. You can then select a file, and the dialog box again opens to await your next selection. If you click Cancel on the dialog box, then the command ends and you can begin your other tasks in Word.

There is a difference between this implementation of the Open dialog box and the one that is presented normally by Word. In Word, you can create a "selection set" within the Open dialog box so that you can open multiple files at the same time. When you use the wdDialogFileOpen dialog box (as is done when you create your own replacement for the Open command), you can only select a single file at a time. This didn't seem to be a big problem for Bronwyn, but could be a problem for other users.

If you must retain the ability to open multiple files at once, then you can execute a commandbarcontrol. However, in executing the commandbarcontrol, you cannot test if someone clicks Cancel. Therefore, you need another way to get out of the loop. In the following routine, you can select/open multiple files, but you must also respond to a dialog box to exit the loop that shows the dialog box.

Sub GetNewFiles()
    Dim Response
    Do While Response <> vbNo
        CommandBars("Standard").Controls("&Open...").Execute
        Response = MsgBox(Prompt:="Open another file?", Buttons:=vbYesNo)
    Loop
End Sub

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1869) 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: Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box.

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

Specifying an Order for Drawing Objects

Drawing objects can be layered over each other in almost any manner you desire. If you want to change the order in which ...

Discover More

Extracting Targeted Records from a List

When working with large amounts of data, you may have a need to extract just the information that meets the criteria you ...

Discover More

Displaying the Selected Cell's Address

Need to know the address of the cell that is currently selected? The function and macro highlighted in this tip will come in ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

An Unruly Ruler

Does the ruler in Word seem to have a mind of its own? If you have problems understanding why the ruler behaves as it does, ...

Discover More

Selecting Tabs in Dialog Boxes

Dialog boxes normally present information in a series of tabs. If you want to move from tab to tab without taking your hands ...

Discover More

Unwanted Graph Paper Effect

When you open a document or start to use Word, do you see a background that looks like graph paper? It could be because of ...

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 two less than 2?

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.