Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Replacing Random Text with Your Own Text.

Replacing Random Text with Your Own Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 30, 2016)

GwenDolyn knows how to use the =rand() feature to insert random text. She wonders, however, if there is a way to customize or add text to what is returned by =rand(). She uses that feature as a boilerplate/filler for demonstrations and would like to add her own verbiage.

Unfortunately, there is no way to modify what is returned by =rand() since it is a function built into Word. There are a couple of ways around this issue, however. The most likely candidates are the following: a Building Block, an AutoCorrect entry, or a macro. More on those in a moment.

First, it is important to understand that Word provides three ways you can insert random text in your document. GwenDolyn already knows about the =rand() function, which inserts some text about how to use some of the features in Word. If you prefer to read about quick brown foxes, you can use the function =rand.old() instead. Finally, you can use =lorem() to insert text that is based on the familiar lorem ipsum filler text that designers have used for decades.

If none of these options do the trick for you, one alternative is to create a Building Block entry that contains the boilerplate info you want. This can be as long of an entry as you want, and can even contain "special" elements, such as tables. Building Blocks have the advantage of being easier to insert into a document than it is to use the =rand() function. How you create Building Blocks has been covered in other issues of WordTips.

The AutoCorrect feature of Word can be used to insert a limited amount of boilerplate text, as well. Correctly set up, AutoCorrect is even faster to use than Building Blocks. All you need to do is remember the small mnemonic you create (such as bpt, meaning boilerplate text), type that mnemonic, and it is automatically replaced with the fuller boilerplate.

The drawback to using Building Blocks or AutoCorrect instead of =rand() is that they aren't as flexible; you cannot specify how many paragraphs you want and how many sentences you want per paragraph. If you want that sort of flexibility, you will need to resort to creating a macro that will do the boilerplate insertion. The following is an example of a simple macro to do such a task.

Sub RandomText()
    Dim sSent As String
    Dim iSentences As Integer
    Dim iParagraphs As Integer
    Dim J As Integer
    Dim K As Integer

    iSentences = 3    'Number of sentences per paragraph
    iParagraphs = 5   'Number of paragraphs
    sSent = "Wallace Widgets makes the best widgets in the known world. "

    For J = 1 To iParagraphs
        For K = 1 to iSentences
            Selection.TypeText sSent
        Next K
        Selection.TypeParagraph
    Next J
End Sub

You can, of course, assign this macro to a shortcut key or add it to the Quick Access Toolbar and it would insert your text (designated in the sSent variable) whenever you invoke it. You might even want to modify the macro so that instead of having the number of sentences and paragraphs "hard coded," the macro asks the user to specify how many of each it should use.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9035) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Replacing Random Text with Your Own Text.

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

Creating a Hanging Indent

One of the more common formatting tasks for paragraphs is to create hanging indents. This tip explains what they are and ...

Discover More

Adding Footnotes to Endnotes

Word does footnotes. Word does endnotes. Word doesn't do footnotes within endnotes. Here's a discussion as to why and what ...

Discover More

Where Is that Text?

Looking for a formula that can return the address of a cell containing a text string? Look no further; the solution is in ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Finding Long Sentences

For certain types of writing, you may want to make sure that the sentences in your document do not exceed a certain limit. ...

Discover More

Replacing Spaces in Part Numbers with Dashes

Word has a power capability to search for information and then replace that information in some way. Finding the right method ...

Discover More

Using Overtype Mode

When you type information into a document, what you type normally is inserted just the left of the insertion point. Word ...

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.