Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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, and 2016. 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

Finding Wayward Links

Combining workbooks that have cross-links to each other can offer some special challenges. This tip examines how you can ...

Discover More

Updating Links

When you establish links between data on a target worksheet and data on a source worksheet, those links are typically ...

Discover More

Hiding Graphics

Do you need a printout where graphics can be turned on and off? This tip provides some concrete ways you can get just ...

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)

Adding Smart Quotes through Macro Text

When text is added to your document by a macro, and that text includes quotes or apostrophes, Word won't change the ...

Discover More

Making Macros Available without Using the Normal Template

If you save your macros in your Normal template, they'll be available whenever you are using Word. What if you don't want ...

Discover More

Creating a Directory

Need to create a directory from within a macro? You can do it using a single command line, as detailed in this tip.

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 3 + 2?

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.