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 Long Sentences.

Finding Long Sentences

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 3, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


6

Bruce is looking for some way to have Word automatically mark long sentences in a document. For instance, he may want to have those sentences with more than 20 words marked in some color so that they are easily located.

Fortunately, Word maintains a Sentences collection, accessible through VBA, that consists of each sentence in a document. You can examine each item in this collection (each individual sentence) to determine if it is longer than your desired length. The following macro provides an example of how this is done.

Sub Mark_Long()
    Dim iMyCount As Integer
    Dim iWords As Integer

    If Not ActiveDocument.Saved Then
        ActiveDocument.Save
    End If

    'Reset counter
    iMyCount = 0 

    'Set number of words
    iWords = 20

    For Each MySent In ActiveDocument.Sentences
        If MySent.Words.Count > iWords Then 
            MySent.Font.Color = wdColorRed
            iMyCount = iMyCount + 1
        End If
    Next
    MsgBox iMyCount & " sentences longer than " & _
      iWords & " words."
End Sub

Notice that each sentence is examined, and if it is longer than the desired length (defined by the variable iWords) then the sentence is changed to a red font color. This makes it easy to examine the document and discover which sentences exceed the length you specified.

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 (11909) 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 Long Sentences.

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

Getting Rid of the Startup Spreadsheet

When you start Excel, you normally see a blank worksheet displayed. Here's how to get rid of it.

Discover More

Skipping Rows when Filling

Using the fill handle is a great way to quickly fill a range of cells with values. Sometimes, however, the way to fill ...

Discover More

Cascading Document Windows

Want the various documents you have open to be cascaded on-screen so you can organize them easier? The capability is ...

Discover More

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!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Copying Red Text to a New Document

Need to copy all the red text in your document to a different document? There are several ways you can approach the task; ...

Discover More

Inserting a Dynamic Line Count

Word provides fields that allow you to insert a variety of informational items about your document into the document ...

Discover More

Returning to Where You Were Before Finding Something

When you use the Find and Replace dialog box to do editing, you could easily lose track of where you were before ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 two more than 2?

2021-09-10 09:16:26

Ken Blair

Thank, KE. I'll work on getting the results into an array so I can place in a document.


2021-09-09 04:19:16

KE

To Ken Blair
The following example searches for the text "mytext", selects the surrounding sentence and displays the text of the sentence in a message box.

Sub SentenceContainingFind()
With Selection.Find
.ClearFormatting
.Execute findtext:="mytext"
End With
Selection.Sentences(1).Select
MsgBox Selection.Range.Text
End Sub


2021-09-08 14:59:19

Ken Blair

Alan,

What does Word use to demarc the sentences? I have a need to modify your VBA to search for a certain word's occurrence and then extract the sentence that contains it. Knowing the demarcs might make that an easier process.


2021-09-07 13:10:41

MZ

Using MS Word 2019 and the above macro, but it is miscounting the words. It appears that it is also counting punctuation as its own word (and maybe format codes too). This creates too many false markups. Any way to have Words.Count number match the MS Word value for the same sentence?


2021-06-17 03:30:45

soja

Thanks Allen for your VBA
best regards


2020-01-18 08:12:55

Patty

Thanks, Allen, for this sweet tip. If I used this macro in most documents I edit, all the text would be red! Unfortunately, I'd have to use 50 as the cutoff (iWords = 50 in the macro). But this would be a great pre-editing tool to analyze just how dense the prose is. In other words, "Red text cannot easily be read"!


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.

Videos
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.