Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Understanding Subroutines.

Understanding Subroutines

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 25, 2015)

When you write macros, you are using a programming language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). This language is based on the BASIC programming language, with extensions specific to Word. One of the features of the languages is the capability to use subroutines in your programs. For instance, consider the following code, written in VBA:

Sub Macro1()
    TestSub
End Sub
Sub TestSub()
    StatusBar = "In the macro"
End Sub

The Macro1 macro does nothing but call a subroutine (TestSub), which in turn prints a message on the status bar. The subroutine then returns control to the main program.

You can have as many subroutines in a macro as you desire. The purpose of each should be to perform common tasks so you don't have to rewrite the same code all the time. You can also pass parameters to your subroutines. These parameters can then be acted upon by your subroutine. For instance, consider the following macros:

Sub Macro1()
    A = 1
    PrintIt A
End Sub
Sub PrintIt(x)
    StatusBar = x
End Sub

This is a simple macro that sets a variable, and then passes it in a subroutine call to PrintIt. This subroutine displays the value of the variable on the status bar, and then returns to the calling program. Notice that the subroutine does not use the same variable name as it was passed. This is because VBA reassigns the value of x (what the subroutine expects to receive) so that it matches the value of A (what the program is passing to the subroutine). The important thing to remember in passing parameters to subroutines is that your program must pass the same number of parameters as the subroutine expects, and that the parameters must be of matching types and in the proper order.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11853) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Subroutines.

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

Disappearing Graphics Groups

Grouping graphics together can be a great way to manage them easier. Doing the grouping, however, could have unintended ...

Discover More

Searching for Footnote and Endnote Marks

Do you want to quickly search for any footnote or endnote marks in your document? Word makes it easy using the standard Find ...

Discover More

Saving Portions of Files

Want to save snippets from a document into individual files? There are a couple of easy ways to achieve this goal, as ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Turning Off Screen Updating

When working with macros, you can often speed up processing by turning off the updating of the screen. Best news is that it ...

Discover More

Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box

The Open dialog box is one that few of us think about, but you can control how it behaves with a little bit of macro coding. ...

Discover More

Automatically Running a Macro

Word allows you to create macros that can run at special times, automatically. This tip explains five special macros that ...

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 seven less than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.