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: Searching for Borders.

Searching for Borders

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 11, 2015)

Word has a very powerful feature that allows you to search for just about anything under the sun. One thing you cannot search for is borders on paragraphs, however. For instance, if you wanted to find all paragraphs that had the left border turned on, you can't do it. There are a couple of ways to work around this, however.

The first workaround is to simply use styles to format your paragraphs. If you use a style, and the style calls for a left-side border on a paragraph, then you can easily search for paragraphs using that style. (Exactly how you search for styles has been covered in other issues of WordTips.)

The second possible workaround is to do your searching using a macro. Using a macro, you can easily check to see if any border attributes are set for a paragraph. The following macro steps through each of the paragraphs in a document. When it finds a paragraph that has any of the border attributes set, that paragraph is selected, and the macro stops.

Sub SearchForBorders1()
    Dim k As Word.Paragraph
    Dim bFound As Boolean

    For Each k In ActiveDocument.Paragraphs
        bFound = False
        If k.Borders(wdBorderTop).LineStyle <> wdLineStyleNone _
          Then bFound = True
        If k.Borders(wdBorderLeft).LineStyle <> wdLineStyleNone _
          Then bFound = True
        If k.Borders(wdBorderBottom).LineStyle <> wdLineStyleNone _
          Then bFound = True
        If k.Borders(wdBorderRight).LineStyle <> wdLineStyleNone _
          Then bFound = True

        If bFound Then
            k.Range.Select
            Exit Sub
        End If
    Next k
End Sub

This macro can be very handy if you don't have many paragraphs with borders. Why? Because the macro always begins searching from the start of the document, and therefore will only find the first paragraph with a border set.

A different macro approach can be used to search for borders in paragraphs beyond the one in which the insertion point is located. The following macro does just that—it starts searching after the current paragraph, and stops when it reaches a paragraph that has any of its border attributes set. Note that this macro doesn't select the entire paragraph; it simply moves the insertion point to the paragraph that has a border set.

Sub SearchForBorders2()
    Static a As Long, l As Long
    Dim b As Boolean
    Dim bd As Border
    Dim bds As Borders
    Dim prg As Paragraph
    Dim prgs As Paragraphs
    Dim re As Range
    Dim se As Selection
    Dim doc As Word.Document

    Set se = Selection
    Set re = se.Range
    Set doc = ActiveDocument
    If se.Start < l Then a = se.Start
    With doc.Content
        Set bds = .Borders
        re.Start = a
        re.End = .End
    End With
    For Each bd In bds
        b = bd = True
        If b Then Exit For
    Next
    If Not b Then Exit Sub

    Set prgs = re.Paragraphs
    For Each prg In prgs
        Set re = prg.Range
        If InStr(re.Text, Chr(13)) = 0 Then
            re.End = re.End + 1
        End If
        Set bds = re.Borders
        For Each bd In bds
            b = bd = True
            If b Then Exit For
        Next
        If b Then
            a = re.Start
            se.Start = re.Start
            se.End = re.Start
            a = re.End
            l = se.Start
            Exit Sub
        End If
    Next
    a = 0
    MsgBox "No more borders found"
End Sub

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9833) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Searching for Borders.

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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