Inserting Dashes between Letters in Words

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 27, 2017)

Lorraine often works with transcripts of interviews. Interviewers will ask interviewees to spell out their names. When she types these up, she needs to insert dashes between letters to show they are being spelled, as in J-O-H-N D-O-E. Lorraine wonders if there is a way to select the name and then run a macro to capitalize the name and insert the requisite dashes between letters.

Macros are very well suited for doing this type of text processing. In fact, there are probably a dozen or so ways you could approach the problem in your macro. The following is a rather simple way to do it:

Sub CapDashNames()
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim sName As String
    Dim J As Integer

    sTemp = UCase(Selection.Range.Text)   ' Make all uppercase
    If Len(sTemp) > 1 Then
        sName = ""
        For J = 1 To Len(sTemp) - 1
            ' Add new character to name
            sName = sName & Mid(sTemp, J, 1)
            If Mid(sTemp, J, 1) >= "A" And Mid(sTemp, J, 1) <= "Z" Then
                ' Add a dash if character was a letter
                sName = sName & "-"
            Else
                ' Character added was not a letter
                If Mid(sName, Len(sName) - 1, 1) = "-" Then
                    ' If there is a dash just before non-letter,
                    ' get rid of it
                    sName = Left(sName, Len(sName) - 2)
                    sName = sName & Mid(sTemp, J, 1)
                End If
            End If
        Next J
        ' Add final character
        sName = sName & Right(sTemp, 1)
        Selection = sName
    End If
End Sub

Basically, the macro steps through whatever you've selected and adds a dash after each alphabetic character. If that dash is then followed by a non-alphabetic character, then the dash is removed. (That way you don't, for example, end up with a dash before or after a space.)

In order to use the macro, simply select the name you want to modify, and then run the macro.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1354) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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

Setting Data Validation Input Messages

When using data validation, you might want to have Excel display a message when someone starts to enter information into a ...

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

Personal Workbook Fails to Load

The Personal workbook is special; it is where you can store macros you want to use all the time in Excel. What do you do, ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Adding Circles around Letters or Numbers

Want to add some handy circles around text in your document? Believe it or not, Word provides three ways you can accomplish ...

Discover More

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

Selecting a Text Block

Word has an interesting way of allowing you to select a rectangular block of text, without reference to what may be within ...

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 five minus 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 ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu 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.