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: Automatically Inserting Brackets.

Automatically Inserting Brackets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 14, 2018)

Many different documents have many different requirements for their construction. For instance, you may have a document where it is necessary to put certain recurring words within brackets so that they stand out. (Some technical manuals use this convention to designate keystrokes, such as the [Enter] key.)

If you have a need such as this, you might find it helpful to simply type your text and then go back and later add the brackets. This is where a macro can come in handy to do the adding for you. For instance, you could select the word (double-click on it) and then run a macro that would add the brackets. The following macro will easily accomplish this task:

Sub AddBrackets()
    Dim iCount As Integer
    iCount = 1
    While Right(Selection.Text, 1) = " " Or _
      Right(Selection.Text, 1) = Chr(13)
        Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1, _
          Extend:=wdExtend
        iCount = iCount + 1
    Wend

    Selection.InsertAfter "]"
    Selection.InsertBefore "["
    Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=iCount
End Sub

The macro compensates for any spaces or paragraph marks at the end of your selection. When you are done running it, the insertion point is left at the end of the original selection. You can assign your macro to either a keyboard shortcut or to the Quick Access Toolbar.

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 (12055) 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: Automatically Inserting Brackets.

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

Undoing an Edit

We all make mistakes. Fortunately, Excel makes it rather easy to undo your makes, right after you make them.

Discover More

Shortcut to Return to Document Text

When you are done typing a footnote or endnote in your document, you may want a way to return to the main document text ...

Discover More

Insert a TOC without Upsetting Pagination

Insert a table of contents in your document, and your page numbering may get thrown for a loop. If you want the page ...

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)

Counting the Instances of a Text String

Sometimes it is helpful to know how often a particular phrase appears within a document. If you need to know such a ...

Discover More

Converting Numbers to Strings

VBA is great at working with both strings and numbers. At some point, you may have a number you need to convert to a ...

Discover More

Deleting a Macro

Macros are often created to accomplish a specific task, after which they are no longer needed. If you need to delete a ...

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 four minus 0?

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.