Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Checking for Matching Parentheses.

Checking for Matching Parentheses

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 1, 2016)

3

Unless you are writing very short documents, cleaning up can be one of the hardest parts of writing. The following macro double-checks your document, paragraph by paragraph, to determine if you have a balanced number of parentheses. The macro counts the number of left parentheses in each paragraph of your document and makes sure you have the same number of right parentheses. If you don't, the macro inserts a paragraph before the unbalanced paragraph indicating the error.

Sub CheckParens()
    Dim WorkPara As String
    Dim CheckP() As Boolean
    Dim NumPara As Integer, J As Integer
    Dim LeftParens As Integer, RightParens As Integer
    Dim MsgText As String

    NumPara = ActiveDocument.Paragraphs.Count
    ReDim CheckP(NumPara)

    MsgText = "***Unbalanced parens in the next paragraph"
    For J = 1 To NumPara
        CheckP(J) = False
        WorkPara = ActiveDocument.Paragraphs(J).Range.Text
        If Len(WorkPara) <> 0 Then
            LeftParens = CountChars(WorkPara, "(")
            RightParens = CountChars(WorkPara, ")")
            If LeftParens <> RightParens Then CheckP(J) = True
        End If
    Next J

    For J = NumPara To 1 Step -1
        If CheckP(J) Then
            Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory, Extend:=wdMove
            If J > 1 Then
                Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdParagraph, _
                  Count:=(J - 1), Extend:=wdMove
            End If
            Selection.InsertParagraphBefore
            Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
            Selection.Style = "Normal"
            Selection.TypeText Text:=MsgText
        End If
    Next J
End Sub

Private Function CountChars(A As String, C As String) As Integer
    Dim Count As Integer
    Dim Found As Integer

    Count = 0
    Found = InStr(A, C)
    While Found <> 0
        Count = Count + 1
        Found = InStr(Found + 1, A, C)
    Wend
    CountChars = Count
End Function

Note that there are actually two macros here. The CountChars function is called from within the main CheckParens macro. It is this latter macro (CheckParens) that is the one you should actually invoke on your document. When the macro is finished, you can search through the document, looking for the wording "***Unbalanced parens" to see where you may have problems.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1018) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Checking for Matching Parentheses.

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

Detailed Measurements

Want to know exactly how far something on the ruler is from the left and right margins of your document? It's easy to figure ...

Discover More

Reordering Last Name and First Name

If you've got a list of names in a column, you may want to change the order of each name. For instance, the name have the ...

Discover More

Turning Off AutoFill for a Workbook

Don't want people using your workbook to be able to use AutoFill? You can add two quick macros that disable and enable the ...

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 (RIBBON)

Selective Undo

Ever wonder why you can't undo just a single edit you made a few minutes earlier? The short answer is that it could make your ...

Discover More

Comparing Documents Top and Bottom

Word has a feature that allows you to compare two documents side-by-side. What if you actually want to compare the documents ...

Discover More

Adding Half Spaces to Punctuation

Want a little more space just before some of your punctuation characters? You can add that spacing in a variety of ways, as ...

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 eight more than 7?

2016-02-27 21:33:02

Philip

Wonderful, fabulous, I love it!
Thank you Allen!


2015-01-19 14:33:52

Patti

Could this macro be modified to also look for missing brackets? [ ]

We use a lot of brackets in our documents, & sometimes I happen to see where we used an opening bracket but no closing one. I don't understand the macro enough to know how to add checking for brackets, & would love it if someone could modify the macro to include these.


2014-06-04 20:10:05

Andi Byassee

Could this macro be modified to match quotation marks? I often find authors forgetting to add a closing quotation mark when writing dialogue?


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