Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Cleaning Up Text in a Macro.

Cleaning Up Text in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 5, 2014)

1

There have been many macros that I have written with the express purpose of "cleaning up" text prior to doing something else with it. For instance, inserting it in a new document or saving it in a text file. Often this process is tedious, involving examining each character in a text string and then making some decision as to what to do with it if the character is not within a range of acceptable characters.

VBA includes an interesting method that can be used to help clean up text. It is called, appropriately enough, the CleanString method. You use it as shown here:

sCleanedUp = Application.CleanString(Selection.Text)

This code line sets the sCleanedUp string equal to a "cleaned up" version of the selected text. What exactly does the CleanString method do? It removes non-printing characters in the ANSI range of 1 through 29, with the exception of 7, 9, 10, and 13. In the case of ANSI character 7, it is removed unless it is preceded by character 13, in which case it is replaced with a tab (ANSI 9). In the case of ANSI character 10, it is replaced with character 13 unless preceded by character 13, in which case it is removed. Characters 9 and 13 are not changed.

A number of other characters outside the range of 1 through 29 are also affected by the CleanString method. ANSI character 31 (the optional hyphen), character 172 (also an optional hyphen), and character 182 (the paragraph mark character) are all removed. ANSI character 160 (the non-breaking space), character 176 (another non-breaking space), and character 183 (a bullet character) are each replaced with spaces. All other characters are unchanged.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13050) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Cleaning Up Text in a Macro.

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

Clearing Large Clipboard Entries

Need to clear out a large amount of information saved on the Clipboard? All you need to do is to replace it with a small ...

Discover More

Turning Off AutoFill

AutoFill can be a great timesaver when adding information to a worksheet. Even so, some users may not want the feature to be ...

Discover More

Setting the Width for Row Labels

Excel displays, by default, a row label or heading at the left side of each row on the screen. As you scroll down the screen, ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

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

Counting Words the Old Fashioned Way

One way to specify word count is to count characters and divide by five. If you still need this old-fashioned way of ...

Discover More

Creating a New Document in VBA

When working with documents in a macro, it makes sense that you may need to create a document from time to time. Here's how ...

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 + 0?

2014-04-07 08:52:25

Jennifer Thomas

ASCII Codes here: http://ascii-table.com/ascii.php; click ANSI Codes at the top for the 128+ numbers.

Watch out if you work across countries - ANSI relies on a shared code page (fine in your native county, but maybe not in another country). But if you stick with the first 128 you should be OK.


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.