Deleting Commented Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 12, 2020)

Thomas has a large document that has items that should be removed before publishing the document for others. The parts of the document that need to be removed were selected and marked with a comment stating that it should be removed before publishing. Thomas would like to quickly find and replace all the text that was commented in this way and delete it. Using Find and Replace, all he can do is find the comments. He has not found a way to figure out if the comment is an indicator that the text should be deleted, nor has he figured out how to delete the actual document text that was highlighted.

This sounds like a rather involved task, as it involves many steps. You need to find a comment, you need to look at the body of the comment to see if it matches your desired wording, you need to delete the commented text in the document body, and then you need to delete the comment itself. This is a job for a macro.

Fortunately, all the comments in a document are accessible through the Comments group using VBA. You can step through each of the comments and see if it contains the "trigger text" to indicate the comment (and the text to which it refers) should be deleted. In the following example, if the comment text contains the words "delete this" anywhere within the comment, then this serves as the trigger.

Sub DeleteCommentsBaseText()
Dim c As Comment
For Each c In ActiveDocument.Comments
    If LCase(Trim(c.Range.Text)) Like "*delete this*" Then
        c.Scope.Delete
        c.DeleteRecursively
    End If
Next c
End Sub

If the trigger words are in the comment, then the Scope property is deleted; it is this property that indicates the document text that was selected when the comment was created. The DeleteRecursively method is then used to delete the actual comment. (The DeleteRecursively method was added in Word 2013. In earlier versions you should use the Delete method instead.)

Understand that when you run the macro it is very fast, and changes cannot be undone. If you want, instead, a bit more control over which comments and text are deleted, then you may want to rethink your workflow. If you use Track Changes, whoever places the comment could also mark the document text for deletion. Then, prior to finalizing the document, you can turn off Track Changes and step through each change to determine if it should be accepted or not. It is not nearly as fast as the above macro, but it gives you greater control.

Note:

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WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (2490) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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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