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: Finding Quoted Text in VBA.

Finding Quoted Text in VBA

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 29, 2017)

Jennifer needs a way, in a macro, to find a string surrounded by either smart or straight quotes (or a mix of the two). She can't seem to find the proper mix of commands for the Find method to locate all instances of such text in all versions of Word.

It is important to be clear about what is being searched. The assumption in this tip is that your macro requires to you search for a specific string surrounded by quotes, not any string surrounded by quotes. For example, in a document that contains two quoted strings such as "my quoted text" and "more quoted text," you only want to find one of the strings for which you know the text, ahead of time, not both of the strings.

In this case, it is just fine to use the Find method, as you note. The question is how to accommodate the possibility of both smart quotes and straight quotes in what you seek. Fortunately, the Find method, by default, matches both straight and smart quotes interchangeably. The key point is knowing how to specify that you want the quote marks included in the search. The following code snippet should do the trick:

Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
With Selection.Find
    .Text = """my quoted text"""
    .Format = False
    .MatchWildcards = False
End With
Selection.Find.Execute

The key in this code is how information is assigned to the .Text property. Note that whatever you are searching for (in this case, "my quoted text") is surrounded by three quotes on each side. The reason for this is rather arcane: The string you are searching for must be enclosed with quote marks; this is required by VBA. This is shown here:

"my quoted text"

Since you want an actual quote character at the beginning of what you are seeking, you need to include a second quote mark as a "delimiter" to indicate you want to find the quote mark character. This means there are now three quote marks at the beginning:

"""my quoted text"

The same extra-quote-mark-as-delimiter technique also applies to the end of the string, so you end up with what is shown in the code snippet. When the code is executed, Word dutifully finds the string, surrounded by any mix of straight or smart quotes, as desired.

It should also be noted that this approach only works if you are doing a regular search, with the .MatchWildcards property set to False.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11638) 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: Finding Quoted Text in VBA.

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

Inserting Custom Properties with Fields

Using File | Properties you can specify different information to be stored with your document. If you create your own custom ...

Discover More

Typing Check Marks into Excel

Need to enter a check mark into a cell? There are a number of ways you can get the desired character, depending on the font ...

Discover More

Changing Roman Numerals to Arabic

In some documents Roman numerals might be used quite a bit. If you ever want to change the Roman numerals to their Arabic ...

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)

Copying Found Items to a New Document

Word allows you to use its searching capabilities to easily find multiple items in a document. What if you want to copy all ...

Discover More

Finding an Unknown Character

Sometimes the characters that appear in a document can be hard to figure out, especially if the document came from someone ...

Discover More

Ordering Search and Replace

The wildcard searching available in Word is very powerful. Here's how you can use ordering in your search efforts to make ...

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. 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 3 + 4?

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.