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: Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box.

Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 10, 2018)

Bronwyn asked if there was a way to force the Open dialog box to stay visible so that multiple files could be opened consecutively. While multiple documents can be opened at the same time using the Open dialog box, this isn't what Bronwyn wanted to do.

One solution—that only tangentially involves Word—is to use the File Explorer (Windows 10) or Windows Explorer (earlier versions of Windows) to display the files in a folder. Open an Explorer window that shows all the document files. You can then double-click on files, or create a selection set of files and right-click on them and choose Open. The window is continually available, and you don't need to worry about repeatedly displaying the Open dialog box.

If you prefer a solution directly within Word, just remember that Word is very configurable, which means you can change just about every aspect of the program. This includes the behavior of the Open dialog box. All you need to do is create a replacement for the FileOpen command, as in the following:

Public Sub FileOpen()
    Dim err_handler
    On Error GoTo err_handler

    With Dialogs(wdDialogFileOpen)
        .Name = "*.*"
        Do While .Show <> 0
            .Name = "*.*"
        Loop
    End With
    Exit Sub

err_handler:
    If Err.Number = 5174 Then
        MsgBox "You can open only one file at a time.", vbCritical
        Resume Next
    Else
        MsgBox Err.Number & vbCrLf & Err.Description, vbExclamation
    End If
End Sub

With this macro in place, whenever Word displays the Open dialog box, it does so with All Files as the specified file type. You can then select a file, and the dialog box again opens to await your next selection. If you click Cancel on the dialog box, then the command ends and you can begin your other tasks in Word.

There is a difference between this implementation of the Open dialog box and the one that is presented normally by Word. In Word, you can create a "selection set" within the Open dialog box so that you can open multiple files at the same time. When you use the wdDialogFileOpen dialog box (as is done when you create your own replacement for the Open command), you can only select a single file at a time. This didn't seem to be a big problem for Bronwyn, but could be a problem for other users.

If you must retain the ability to open multiple files at once, then you can execute a commandbarcontrol. However, in executing the commandbarcontrol, you cannot test if someone clicks Cancel. Therefore, you need another way to get out of the loop. In the following routine, you can select/open multiple files, but you must also respond to a dialog box to exit the loop that shows the dialog box.

Sub GetNewFiles()
    Dim Response
    Do While Response <> vbNo
        CommandBars("Standard").Controls("&Open...").Execute
        Response = MsgBox(Prompt:="Open another file?", Buttons:=vbYesNo)
    Loop
End Sub

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 (12357) 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: Modifying Behavior of the Open Dialog Box.

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

Meaningless Text

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, or so the story goes. Here's how to put this type of meaningless text into a ...

Discover More

Tab Key Jumps a Screen at a Time

Have you ever pressed the Tab key, expecting to move to the next cell in your worksheet, only to have Excel completely ...

Discover More

Filtering Data

When you get a lot of data in a spreadsheet, it can be hard to zero in on the data you really need to work with. That's ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Determining the Horizontal Position of the Insertion Point

Need to figure out how far the insertion point is from the left margin? You can do so by using this small macro that ...

Discover More

Understanding Precedence

Formulas created in a macro have a specific order in which operations are performed. This is known as precedence, as ...

Discover More

Accessing the Dirty Flag

When creating macros, you might want to know if a user has made changes in the document or not. Here's how to figure that ...

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 6 - 1?

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.