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: Checking for a Text Selection Length.

Checking for a Text Selection Length

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 8, 2018)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


There are numerous times when you are writing macros when you will need to determine if the user has made a selection. There are numerous ways you can do this in a macro. The following code illustrates one possible method for accomplishing this in VBA. It sets the value of a flag, bInSelection, to True if there is currently a selection. Otherwise bInSelection is set to False.

Dim bInSelection As Boolean

bInSelection = False
If Selection.Type=wdSelectionIP Then
    bInselection=True
End If

You might wonder if you could use an approach of checking if the length of the selection is greater than zero, as in this method:

Dim bInSelection As Boolean

bInSelection = False
If Len(Selection) > 0 Then
    bInselection=True
End If

This approach won't work. The reason is because when there is no selection made (the insertion point is collapsed and just blinking), Word still returns a selection length of 1. This is a bit aggravating as it makes no logical sense. Thus, you need to check the Type property of the Selection object, as in the first example above. If you want to shorten it even further, you could use the following:

Dim bInSelection As Boolean

bInselection=(Selection.Type=wdSelectionIP)

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 (12175) 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: Checking for a Text Selection Length.

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. ...

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