Changing Information in Multiple Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2018)

13

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.

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 (3783) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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Comments

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What is 1 + 3?

2019-02-05 04:28:10

Jigneshkumar K Pandya

function Application.FileSearch is not working if anyone have alternate codes please let me know


2019-01-03 13:41:28

Manny Bhuta

If you want a bit more functionality, if you want to replace images and metadata in addition to text for instance, you can use a good commercially available software such as: https://www.officefindreplace.com


2018-12-17 07:03:40

Asad Rauf

Is there a way to change the hyperlink using the same code. I have text that links to a google form. I want to update the link in all files.


2018-09-20 14:48:29

juan carlos

Hi there,

I'm wondering how can I password protect just for editing all word files in a folder?

I start running the document control activities and found that 500 files to be protected is a huge task to be performed one by one.

Thanks for your time on this request

Kind Regards

Carlos


2018-07-12 08:51:16

Richard Peers

The function Application.FileSearch was removed after Office 2007, so the code on this page sadly no longer works.


2018-06-12 15:00:35

Rachel

Hi, Is it possible to change the Title property in several (hundreds) of Word documents? Unfortunately 350 documents started from one original ancestor and all of them kept the original Title property. Thanks!


2018-05-17 10:57:24

Manny Bhuta

Another option is to use a software to do this. We use https://www.officefindreplace.com, works great.


2017-11-28 09:44:46

Jake

Or you could just use this program, it's much, much simpler.

http://www.gmayor.com/document_batch_processes.htm


2017-11-03 16:46:11

pamusician

This macro was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing!


2017-04-23 18:28:49

SuitableSoftware

Hello,
I saw your information on editing multiple word documents at once. I have written a free program (.exe for windows and .app for mac) which allows users to edit the headers for multiple word documents at once, as long as the headers across all the documents have similar formatting. To download and learn more, go to https://suitablesoftware.wixsite.com/home
-SuitableSoftware


2017-01-20 11:46:47

RobinCB

FYI: http://www.dragondrop.com is no longer available.


2016-10-10 10:52:07

Joe

You can also use a 3rd party tool to do this sort of thing very easily. Try something like www.officefindreplace.com for a quick fix to all of your documents.


2016-09-27 22:12:11

Steve

Allen,
Thanks for the great tip, it was exactly what I was looking for!

Cheers!
-Steve


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