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: Finding Quoted Text in VBA.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 2, 2018)
Jennifer needs a way, in a macro, to find a string surrounded by either smart or straight quotes (or a mix of the two). She can't seem to find the proper mix of commands for the Find method to locate all instances of such text in all versions of Word.
It is important to be clear about what is being searched. The assumption in this tip is that your macro requires to you search for a specific string surrounded by quotes, not any string surrounded by quotes. For example, in a document that contains two quoted strings such as "my quoted text" and "more quoted text," you only want to find one of the strings for which you know the text, ahead of time, not both of the strings.
In this case, it is just fine to use the Find method, as you note. The question is how to accommodate the possibility of both smart quotes and straight quotes in what you seek. Fortunately, the Find method, by default, matches both straight and smart quotes interchangeably. The key point is knowing how to specify that you want the quote marks included in the search. The following code snippet should do the trick:
Selection.Find.ClearFormatting Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting With Selection.Find .Text = """my quoted text""" .Format = False .MatchWildcards = False End With Selection.Find.Execute
The key in this code is how information is assigned to the .Text property. Note that whatever you are searching for (in this case, "my quoted text") is surrounded by three quotes on each side. The reason for this is rather arcane: The string you are searching for must be enclosed with quote marks; this is required by VBA. This is shown here:
"my quoted text"
Since you want an actual quote character at the beginning of what you are seeking, you need to include a second quote mark as a "delimiter" to indicate you want to find the quote mark character. This means there are now three quote marks at the beginning:
"""my quoted text"
The same extra-quote-mark-as-delimiter technique also applies to the end of the string, so you end up with what is shown in the code snippet. When the code is executed, Word dutifully finds the string, surrounded by any mix of straight or smart quotes, as desired.
It should also be noted that this approach only works if you are doing a regular search, with the .MatchWildcards property set to False.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11639) 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: Finding Quoted Text in VBA.
Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!
If you want to insert a space between letters and digits in your document, you have a couple of tasks to perform. First, ...Discover More
When using Find and Replace, it is possible that you might notice some surprising results when the replacements are done. ...Discover More
Sometimes you'll run across the need to replace a very specific sequence of characters in your document. It is for these ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.
Visit the WordTips channel on YouTube