Creating an AutoText Reference List

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 21, 2013)

AutoText entries are a great way to help speed up both data entry and data standardization in Word documents. As you create more and more AutoText entries, you may cast about for a way to print a list of those entries. This list could then be used as a "reference guide" to what entries are available on a system.

Word provides a quick way to print AutoText entries: On the Print dialog box choose AutoText Entries in the Print What drop-down list. However, the list that is printed may not be to your liking. (You may want the list formatted differently to meet your specific needs.)

One way to create the type of list you need is to change how you print it. Windows provides a generic print driver that allows you to make a plain-text file from any printout. If you look at the list of printer drivers installed on your system, you may see one called "Generic / Text Only." If you don't, go through the steps to add this printer driver. (The steps you follow depend on the version of Windows you are using; in all versions there should be a generic printer driver available called "Generic / Text Only.")

When you want to create your AutoText reference list, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File | Print to display the Print dialog box.
  2. Using the Name drop-down list at the top of the dialog box, choose the Generic / Text Only printer. (You've just changed what printer driver will be used to create the document.)
  3. Select the Print to File check box.
  4. Using the Print What drop-down list, choose AutoText Entries. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Print dialog box.

  6. Click OK. A dialog box appears, asking you for a file name for the output file.
  7. Using the controls in the dialog box, select a location for the output file. Specify a name that makes sense for what you are creating, such as "My AT Entries."
  8. Click OK and the output file is created.

The output file is saved in the location you specified, using the name you specified. The file name extension is PRN. You can load this file into Word or into any other text editor; it is plain text. You can then format it as desired, as you would with any other document. When satisfied with your formatting, you can then print the document to create your reference list.

It should be noted that if you open the PRN file in Word, and you see a bunch of gibberish in the file, you probably didn't follow step 2 in the above steps. Only the Generic / Text Only printer driver will create a plain text file. If you use a different printer driver, the output file includes the codes necessary to control the printer—what you see as gibberish.

There are, of course, ways that you can create your reference list using macros. The following is an example of a macro that will step through all the open templates and construct a document consisting of all the AutoText entries in all those templates.

Sub ListEntries()
    Dim oTemplate As Word.Template
    Dim oEntry As Word.AutoTextEntry
    Dim strReport As String

    For Each oTemplate In Application.Templates
        strReport = strReport & oTemplate.FullName & vbCr
        For Each oEntry In oTemplate.AutoTextEntries
            With oEntry
                strReport = strReport & .Name & vbTab & .Value & vbCr
            End With
        Next
        strReport = strReport & String$(3, vbCr)
    Next
    With Application.Documents.Add.StoryRanges(wdMainTextStory)
        .Text = strReport
    End With
End Sub

This macro is very simple; it could be expanded to perform more complex tasks, such as formatting the information added to the new document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5813) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Editing AutoText Entries Directly

Editing AutoText entries, and particularly deleting them, can be cumbersome if you have a lot of changes to make. There are a ...

Discover More

Comments in Text Boxes

If you use text boxes in your documents, you may sometime want to place a comment in the text box, the same as you can do ...

Discover More

Returning an ANSI Value

Need to know the character value of the first character in a string? It's easy to do, without using a macro, by using the ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Easily Backing Up AutoText Entries

Many people use AutoText to enhance their use of Word. If you've invested significant time in customizing AutoText to make it ...

Discover More

QuickWords in Word

WordPerfect users coming to Word may miss a feature called QuickWords. This tip examines some ways you can get around the ...

Discover More

Deleting Multiple AutoText Entries

AutoText is a great feature in Word; it helps you put together documents quickly. If you need to delete multiple AutoText ...

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 9 - 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.