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: Understanding the For ... Next Structure.

Understanding the For ... Next Structure

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 18, 2016)

Like other programming languages, the programming language used for Word macros (Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA) includes certain programming structures used to control how the program executes. One of these structures is the For ... Next structure. The most common use of this structure has the following syntax:

For X = 1 To 99
    program statements
Next X

You are not limited to using the X variable; you can use any numeric variable you desire. You are also not limited to the numbers 1 and 99 in the first line; you can use any numbers you desire, or you can use numeric variables. When a macro is executing, and this structure is encountered, Word repeats every program statement between the For and Next keywords a certain number of times. In the syntax example, the statements would be executed 99 times (1 through 99). The first time through the structure, X would be equal to 1, the second time through it would be equal to 2, then 3, 4, 5, and so on, until it equaled 99 on the last iteration.

Normally, as Word is working through the For ... Next structure, it increments the counter by one on each iteration. You can also add a Step modifier to the For ... Next structure, thereby changing the value by which the counter is incremented. For instance, consider the following example:

For X = 1 To 99 Step 5
    program statements
Next X

The first time through this example, X will be equal to 1, and the second time through, X is equal to 6 because it has been incremented by 5. Similarly, the third time through X is equal to 11. You can also use negative numbers for Step values, which allows you to count downwards. For instance, take a look at the following:

For X = 24 To 0 Step -3
    program statements
Next X

In this example, the first time through the structure X is equal to 24, the second time it is equal to 21, and the third time it is equal to 18.

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 (12215) 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: Understanding the For ... Next Structure.

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

Using the Drawing Grid

One of the lesser-known drawing tools provided in Word is the drawing grid. You can easily turn this feature on and use ...

Discover More

Returning Blanks or Asterisks from a Lookup

Want to return more than a value when doing a lookup? Here's one way to do it by adding an IF clause to your formula.

Discover More

Macros On the Quick Access Toolbar

When you configure Word to your needs, a common thing to do is to add commands and macros to the Quick Access Toolbar. ...

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)

Controlling the Bold Text Attribute

When processing a document in a macro, you may need to make some of your text bold. It's easy to do using the Bold ...

Discover More

Determining if Num Lock is On

Need to know if the Num Lock key is on or off? You can use a short bit of macro code to figure out the state of the key.

Discover More

Inserting a Break with a Macro

Inserting a break in your document is easy. You may think that inserting one using a macro is more complex, but it isn't. ...

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.