by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 24, 2020)
Sharon is editing some old documents that have "hand numbered" paragraphs. If she adds automatic numbering to those paragraphs, Word still leaves the "hand numbering" numbers in place. She has many documents to process, and some of them are quite long. She wonders if there is a way to automatically get rid of the "hand numbering" numbers.
There are three ways you can approach this task. One is by editing, another is to use Find and Replace, and the third is to use a macro.
You can use regular editing techniques if your paragraphs are very short, meaning not over a single line each. All you need to do is to hold down the Alt key as you use the mouse to select the leading numbers and anything after them (like periods, spaces, or tabs). Press the Delete key, and just those leading characters are deleted.
For the Find and Replace method, follow these steps:
Figure 1. Getting ready to replace numbering.
There are a few things to note about this technique. First, it replaces any leading paragraph numbering that starts with an Arabic number (1, 2, 3, etc.) followed by a period and either a tab or space. If your "hand numbered" paragraphs don't follow this pattern, then you'll need to modify what you search for in step 4. For instance, if the numbering uses Roman numerals or letters then you'll need to change what you search for.
Second, the technique assumes that there are no leading spaces or tabs before the number at the beginning of the paragraph. If there might be, then you'll need to do a separate Find and Replace operation before this one in order to remove all leading spaces or tabs.
If you prefer to use a macro to do the conversion, the easiest way is to use an old WordBasic command that was never updated to VBA. Consider the following:
Sub RemoveManualNumbers() ActiveDocument.Range.Select WordBasic.ToolsBulletsNumbers Replace:=0, Type:=1, Remove:=1 End Sub
The macro selects the entire document and then uses the .ToolsBulletsNumbers method to get rid of the manual numbering. You can find out a bit more about this approach at the following Word MVP site page:
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