Finding and Replacing Text Boxes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 13, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Tim wonders if Find and Replace can be used to search for and locate text boxes. He would like to search for text boxes and replace each of them with a graphic, as he finds this almost impossible to do manually when some text boxes are essentially invisible in his document.

If your text boxes are inline with your text, then you can use Find and Replace to locate and replace them. All you need to do is to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box and, in the Find What box, enter ^g. This is the code for find graphics, but Word treats text boxes as if they are graphics when they are inline.

The problem is, of course, that most text boxes are not inline—text wraps around them and they reside on their own layer. For these types of text boxes you must use a macro to do the searching and replacing. The following is an example of one you could use:

Sub ReplaceTextBox()
    Dim shp As Shape

    For Each shp In ActiveDocument.Shapes
        If shp.Type = msoTextBox Then
            shp.Select
            shp.Delete
            Selection.PasteAndFormat (wdPasteDefault)
        End If
    Next
End Sub

To use the macro, select the graphic you want to use in your replacement and then press Ctrl+C. This places the graphic in the Clipboard. When you run the macro, it is this graphic—the one in the Clipboard—that is pasted into the document in place of each text box.

You should be aware that the macro replaces all of the text boxes in a document with the graphics. If you wanted to selectively replace text boxes, the coding would be a good deal more complex.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (2894) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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