by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2018)
As you use Word, day in and day out, you tend to accumulate lots and lots of documents. If these documents are used for a standard purpose, it is not unusual for the documents to contain some of the same information.
For instance, you may have documents that contain stories that you submit to different newspapers and magazines. While the individual stories may be different, each document may contain your name and contact information. If your contact information changes, or if you decide to use a different spelling for your name, you may long for a way to do a universal change to all the documents at once.
Unfortunately, Word does not include this type of capability. Your options are either to rely on a third-party solution or write your own macro to do the changes. There are a number of third-party programs that offer the type of search-and-replace function necessary when working with multiple documents. The following are just a few of the ones suggested by WordTips subscribers:
Word developer Malcom Smith has also created a macro that will perform search and replaces across directories. If you want to see it, you can visit http://www.dragondrop.com. Just click the Find and Replace for Word link, at the right side of the page.
If you don't mind using your own macros, the following shows the techniques inherent in stepping through the documents in a particular folder.
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 ' 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 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 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 street address, but also your e-mail 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 information is. Change the .Lookin parameter early in the macro to indicate where the macro should search; make sure you use a full path. Then, within the main body of the macro, update the .Text and .Replacement.Text parameters to reflect what you are searching for and replacing with.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3783) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!
Want an easy way to move between directories using the Open dialog box? With just a little bit of up-front typing, you ...Discover More
Click the Save button and you expect your document to be saved, right? What if you later discover it wasn't really saved? ...Discover More
At some point you may want to insert one Word document inside another Word document. An easy way to do this is to use the ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.