Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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 Quoted Text with Italics.

Replacing Quoted Text with Italics

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 9, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


In many word processors, an author may call out material with quote marks. For instance, the first time a term is introduced, the author may enclose the term in quote marks. In Word, however, you can call out information with italics. Manually changing quoted material to italics can be very time consuming.

The following macro, QuotesToItalics, checks the current paragraph for quoted material. If there is any, it deletes the quotes and changes the text between the quotes to italics. If the quote marks are unbalanced (there is an opening or closing quote mark with no corresponding closing or opening quote mark), then the quote mark is ignored, and no changes are made. The macro works with either regular quotes or smart quotes.

Sub QuotesToItalic()
    Dim Redo As Boolean
    Dim Ptr As Integer
    Dim Ptr1 As Integer
    Dim P As String
    Dim P1 As String

    If Selection.ExtendMode Then Exit Sub
    Redo = True
    While Redo
        Selection.StartOf Unit:=wdParagraph, Extend:=wdMove
        Selection.MoveEnd Unit:=wdParagraph
        P = Selection.Text
        Ptr = InStr(P, Chr(34))
        If Ptr = 0 Then Ptr = InStr(P, Chr(147))
        If Ptr > 0 Then
            Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Extend:=wdMove
            Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=Ptr
            Selection.MoveEnd Unit:=wdParagraph
            P1 = Selection.Text
            Ptr1 = InStr(P1, Chr(34))
            If Ptr1 = 0 Then
                Ptr1 = InStr(P1, Chr(148))
                EndChar = Chr(148)
            Else
                EndChar = Chr(34)
            End If
            If Ptr1 > 0 Then
                Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=2, _
                  Extend:=wdMove
                Selection.Delete Unit:=wdCharacter
                Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, _
                  Count:=Ptr1 - 1, Extend:=wdExtend
                Selection.Font.Italic = True
                Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Extend:=wdMove
                Selection.Delete Unit:=wdCharacter
            Else
                Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Extend:=wdMove
                Redo = 0
            End If
        Else
            Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Extend:=wdMove
            Redo = 0
        End If
    Wend
End Sub

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 (9502) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Replacing Quoted Text with Italics.

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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