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: Changing Roman Numerals to Arabic.

Changing Roman Numerals to Arabic

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 23, 2016)

5

Bradley has a document that has, within text, many Roman numerals. He needs an easy way to change these thousands of Roman numerals to Arabic. These are not fields of any nature; they are simply typed in text as Roman numerals. He wonders if there is a way to easily change them to their Arabic equivalents.

Unfortunately, there is no function in Word that will convert Roman numerals to Arabic. You could, if you want, simply use Find and Replace to search for Roman numerals, but you would have to do an individual search for each one. You could use a wild card search to search for a word that consists entirely of uppercase Roman numerals, which would make searching quite a bit easier. All you need to do is search for "<[CDILMVX]{1,}>" (without the quote marks) and make sure you have the Use Wild Cards check box selected. When you click Find Next, the next Roman numeral is located, and you can then manually change it to its Arabic equivalent.

Another way to try to do the conversion is with a macro. You could create a macro that looks at each word in your document and tries to determine if it is a candidate for consisting of Roman numerals. You may get some false positives, though, particularly if your document contains acronyms that could be confused as Roman numerals. (For example, if you use the acronym CC for credit card, that could be considered the Roman numeral for 200.)

The following set of macros will step through each of the words in a document and if the word contains only Roman numerals (I, V, X, L, C, D, and M) then the user is asked if the macro should convert the numerals.

Sub ConvertRoman()
    Dim wrdX
    Dim wrd As String
    Dim tstSW As Boolean
    Dim J As Long

    For Each wrdX In ActiveDocument.Words
        wrd = UCase(Trim(wrdX))
        If wrd = "" Or wrd = "I" Or wrd = vbCr Then
            tstSW = False
        Else
            tstSW = True
        End If
        For J = 1 To Len(wrd)
            If InStr("MDCLXVI",Mid(wrd, J, 1)) = 0 Then
                tstSW = False
                Exit For
            End If
        Next J

        If tstSW Then
            wrdX.Select
            Selection.MoveLeft unit:=wdCharacter, _
              Count:=Len(wrdX) - Len(wrd), _
              Extend:=wdExtend
            J = MsgBox("Convert " & wrd & " to Arabic", vbYesNoCancel)
            If J = vbCancel Then Exit Sub
            If J = vbYes Then Selection.TypeText Text:=RomanToArabic(wrd)
        End If
    Next wrdX
End Sub
Function RomanToArabic(Rm As String) As String
    Dim J As Long
    Dim ab As Long
    Dim cc As Long
    Dim dd As Long

    ab = 0
    Rm = Trim(Rm)
    J = 1
    Do
        cc = GetValue(Mid(Rm, J, 1))
        dd = GetValue(Mid(Rm, J + 1, 1))
        If cc < dd Then
            ab = ab + dd - cc
            J = J + 1
        Else
            ab = ab + cc
        End If
        J = J + 1
    Loop Until J >= Len(Rm)
    If J = Len(Rm) Then
        ab = ab + GetValue(Mid(Rm, J, 1))
    End If
    RomanToArabic = Trim(Str(ab))
End Function
Function GetValue(ss As String) As Long
    Dim Cde()
    Dim Cvalue()
    Dim J As Long

    Cde = Array("M", "D", "C", "L", "X", "V", "I")
    Cvalue = Array(1000, 500, 100, 50, 10, 5, 1)

    For J = 0 To 6
        If ss = Cde(J) Then
            GetValue = Cvalue(J)
            Exit Function
        End If
    Next J
    GetValue = 999999
End Function

Since an uppercase I is a very common word in text, the macros won't stop on each of them to determine if a conversion should be done. However, if the capital I is part of a longer word that consists of only Roman numerals (such as XLVII), then it is considered a candidate for conversion. The macros also assume that all your Roman numerals are uppercase.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12509) 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: Changing Roman Numerals to Arabic.

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

Checking for Proper Entry of Array Formulas

Excel allows you to enter two different types of formulas in a cell: A regular formula or an array formula. If you need to ...

Discover More

Moving Part of a Footer Down a Line

Setting up a single footer line for your printouts is fairly easy. If you want to move part of the footer down a line so that ...

Discover More

Single-Character Fractions

Some fractions Word automatically converts to single characters, some it doesn't. Here's why that happens and what you can do ...

Discover More

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!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Changing ToolTips for a Macro Button

Want to change the ToolTip that appears when you hover the mouse over a button on a toolbar? It's a bit more involved than ...

Discover More

Getting User Input in a Dialog Box

Want to grab some interactive input from a user in your macro? The best way to do that is with the InputBox function, ...

Discover More

Determining the Horizontal Position of the Insertion Point

Need to figure out how far the insertion point is from the left margin? You can do so by using this small macro that relies ...

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 for this tip:

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 seven minus 6?

2014-02-01 04:01:08

Lajos

And yes, Jon is right - V will 99994 and X will 999989. :(


2014-02-01 03:33:19

Lajos

Salut, Allen!

Sorry, your macro finds lowercase words in my hungarian Word 2003. As word "mi" is very often in hungarian (it means "what" and "we"), I can not use your work. :(

I tried to add

Or wrd = "Mi" Or wrd = "mi"

with no effect.


2013-11-04 10:45:33

Jon

for some reason it converts v to 999994


2013-09-14 07:57:39

Word User

Many thanks, this is just what I've been looking for!

I modified the 8th line to the following, to stop it picking up false-positives:

If wrd = "" Or wrd = "I" Or wrd = vbCr Or wrd = "DID" Or wrd = "VIVID" Or wrd = "ILL" Or wrd = "MILD" Or wrd = "LIVID" Or wrd = "MILL" Or wrd = "CIVIC" Or wrd = "ILL" Or wrd = "DIM" Or wrd = "MID" Or wrd = "MIX" Then
tstSW = False

Running the Macro in Word 2010, I found it did still pick up lower-case words. How do I make it just find capitals?

And how do I make it only find instances that occur after the word 'Chapter'?

Thanks again!


2013-07-11 07:57:16

Jeremy

Allen, you have an error in the second paragraph:

If you search using <[CDILMVX]{1,}>" (without the quote marks), you will not get everything (e.g. xiv).

It has to be in this order <[MDCLXVI]{1,}>!

Also, Can you do a version for lower case, please? This can be useful for conversions of page numbers, if deployed appropriately. Actually, I'm trying to do something a bit different, and your code for lower case would be very useful. It seems that replacing the upper case letters in your code with lower case doesn't work. There must be something else needed.


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.

Links and Sharing
Share