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: Replacing Random Text with Your Own Text.

Replacing Random Text with Your Own Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

GwenDolyn knows how to use the =rand() feature to insert random text. She wonders, however, if there is a way to customize or add text to what is returned by =rand(). She uses that feature as a boilerplate/filler for demonstrations and would like to add her own verbiage.

Unfortunately, there is no way to modify what is returned by =rand() since it is a function built into Word. There are a couple of ways around this issue, however. The most likely candidates are the following: AutoText, AutoCorrect, and macros.

You can create an AutoText entry that contains the boilerplate info you want. This can be as long of an entry as you want, and can even contain "special" elements, such as tables. AutoText entries have the advantage of being easier to insert into a document than it is to use the =rand() function. How you create AutoText entries has been covered in other issues of WordTips. You can also refer to the following helpful page at the Word MVP site:

http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/Formatting/DummyText.htm

The AutoCorrect feature of Word can be used to insert a limited amount of boilerplate text, as well. Correctly set up, AutoCorrect is even faster to use than is AutoText. All you need to do is remember the small mnemonic you create (such as bpt, meaning boilerplate text), type that mnemonic, and it is automatically replaced with the fuller boilerplate.

The drawback to using AutoText or AutoCorrect instead of =rand() is that they aren't as flexible; you cannot specify how many paragraphs you want and how many sentences you want per paragraph. If you want that sort of flexibility, you will need to resort to creating a macro that will do the boilerplate insertion. The following is an example of a simple macro to do such a task.

Sub RandomText()
    Dim sSent As String
    Dim iSentences As Integer
    Dim iParagraphs As Integer
    Dim J As Integer
    Dim K As Integer

    iSentences = 3    'Number of sentences per paragraph
    iParagraphs = 5   'Number of paragraphs
    sSent = "Wallace Widgets makes the best widgets in the known world. "

    For J = 1 To iParagraphs
        For K = 1 to iSentences
            Selection.TypeText sSent
        Next K
        Selection.TypeParagraph
    Next J
End Sub

You can, of course, assign this macro to a shortcut key or to a toolbar button and it would insert your text (designated in the sSent variable) whenever you invoke it. You might even want to modify the macro so that instead of having the number of sentences and paragraphs "hard coded," the macro asks the user to specify how many of each it should use.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9034) 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: Replacing Random Text with Your Own Text.

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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