Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 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: Enforcing a Do-Not-Use Word List.

Enforcing a Do-Not-Use Word List

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 31, 2018)

2

Rohan works for a company that is using a new method of writing letters involving a list of approximately a hundred 'complex' words that must never be used when writing. He is looking for the best way to be alerted if any of the words on the list are used in a document.

There are several ways that this can be accomplished, and the best choice will depend on how work is done in your office, along with personal preference. For instance, one simple way to handle the words is to add them to what Word calls your "exclude" dictionary. Basically, this is a way of modifying the files used by the spell checker so that a particular word is always marked as incorrectly spelled. If you add the hundred words to the exclude list, then they will always be marked as incorrectly spelled. How you add words to the exclusion dictionary has been covered in other issues of WordTips. You can find information here:

https://wordribbon.tips.net/T008695

Similar information is also available at the Word MVP site, here:

https://wordmvp.com/FAQs/General/ExcludeWordFromDic.htm

Another way you could approach your list is to create AutoCorrect entries for each of the words. When one of the words is typed, you could have it automatically replaced with a version of the word that is in some noticeable format that will call attention to the fact that the word was used. If you prefer, you could also simply have the word replaced with a space, which would mean that the offending word is automatically "erased" whenever it is typed.

There are also macro approaches that you could use. These would, primarily, be helpful to run at various points in the development of the document. The macro could do just about anything you decide it should do. For instance, it might simply collect the offending words that were found in the document and notify you that they were found, without actually making any changes. The following macro will do just that.

Sub DoNotUseList()
    Dim Word As Range
    Dim ForbiddenWords(2) As String
    Dim ForbiddenWord As Variant
    Dim BadList As String

    ' Populate array with forbidden words
    ' Remember to modify the size of the array above
    ForbiddenWords(0) = "cat"
    ForbiddenWords(1) = "dog"
    ForbiddenWords(2) = "mouse"

    BadList = "The following forbidden words have been identified:"
    For Each Word In ActiveDocument.Words
        For Each ForbiddenWord In ForbiddenWords
            If LCase(Trim(Word.Text)) = ForbiddenWord Then
                BadList = BadList & vbCrLf & ForbiddenWord
            End If
        Next
    Next

    MsgBox BadList, vbOKOnly, "Forbidden Words"
End Sub

To change the words that are on the forbidden list, simply change the size and contents of the ForbiddenWords array. You should make sure that there are no capital letters and no phrases in the array contents. When you run the macro, each of the words in the document is checked against each of the forbidden words, and you are notified at the end if there are any found.

Other similar macro-based ways to handle this type of problem have been presented in other issues of WordTips:

https://wordribbon.tips.net/T001173

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 (11329) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Enforcing a Do-Not-Use Word List.

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

Moving Table Rows Quickly

One of the most esoteric shortcuts available in Word is one that allows you to move table rows, either within a table or ...

Discover More

Deleting a Table

Tired of that old table taking up space in your document? You can get rid of it using a variety of techniques—"some ...

Discover More

Getting a List of User Accounts

Part of managing a computer system that is shared by multiple people is to keep track of all the user accounts on that ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Correcting Student Papers

If you are a teacher, you may be looking for ways you can use Word's features to correct papers your students send to you ...

Discover More

Word Count in Multiple Selections

Getting a word count for an entire document is easy. What you may not know is that some versions of Word can also provide ...

Discover More

Translating Text

Word includes several different tools you can use to improve your writing. One such tool is the translation tool. Here's ...

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 three minus 2?

2018-09-10 12:22:00

Nick

Hey Allen!
This is quite an interesting approach for consistent terminology.

I got 3 questions:

1. Question
Is there a possiblity to copy the results to clipboard (to paste it somewhere else)?

2. Question
Do you know a way how to also create a match for plural forms while not listing all the plural forms seperately?
E. g. the search in your shown example gives no results if the word "cats" appears.
In other words: I additionally want a match, when the string appears "inside" of a word.

3. Question
Is there a possibility to extend the list for connected words like "black spider".
So a match would only come if both words appear.

Gratefully yours,
Nick


2018-04-18 05:09:35

Vikram

This is super helpful, thanks so much! What changes need to be made in the code to make this work in Outlook or Powerpoint?


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.