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: Limiting Directories in the FILENAME Field.

Limiting Directories in the FILENAME Field

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 25, 2014)

The FILENAME field allows you to insert the name of the document file into the document itself. If you use the /p switch with the field, you get not only the file name, but also the full path for the file:

{ FILENAME /p }

As you can imagine, the path name can get rather long, depending on how your hard drive is organized and where you stored the document. For this reason, you may want to selectively choose which levels of the path are included in what FILENAME returns. For instance, the following may be the full path name for the document:

C:\My Documents and Settings\Level1\Level2\Level3\Level4\Doc1.docx

You might want to limit the directory levels displayed, as shown in these two examples:

\Level2\Level3\Level4\Doc1.docx
\Level1\Level2\Level3\Level4\Doc1.docx

Unfortunately, there is no way to do this with the FILENAME field itself; it just doesn't include that capability. The only solution is to create a macro that determines the path name and inserts the desired levels into the document. For instance, the following macro will inert, at the insertion point, the desired number of directory levels for the current file:

Sub SelectPaths()
    Dim sPath As String
    Dim sName As String
    Dim sFull As String
    Dim sPart As String
    Dim sMsg As String
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim iLevels As Integer
    Dim J As Integer

    sPath = ActiveDocument.Path
    If sPath = "" Then
        MsgBox "Need to save before running this macro.", _
          vbOKOnly, "This Document Not Saved"
    Else
        sPath = sPath & Application.PathSeparator
        sName = ActiveDocument.Name
        sFull = sPath & sName

        sMsg = "This is the full path:" & vbCrLf
        sMsg = sMsg & sFull & vbCrLf & vbCrLf
        sMsg = sMsg & "How many levels do you want, counting "
        sMsg = sMsg & "from right to left?"

        sTemp = InputBox(sMsg)
        iLevels = Val(sTemp)

        sPart = ""
        If iLevels > 0 Then
            For J = Len(sFull) To 1 Step -1
                If Mid(sFull, J, 1) = Application.PathSeparator Then
                    iLevels = iLevels - 1
                    If iLevels = 0 Then
                        sPart = Mid(sFull, J, 255)
                        Exit For
                    End If
                End If
            Next J
        End If

        Selection.TypeText (sPart)
    End If
End Sub

If the document has not been saved, the macro won't run. It works by essentially counting the number of path separators (slashes), starting at the end of the path. It then inserts just the part of the path from that point forward.

The drawback to a macro like this, of course, is that it is not dynamic, as fields are. It simply inserts text. If you later change the location of the document, or if you change the document name, then you need to rerun the macro to insert the new path text.

If your reasoning behind inserting only a portion of the path is that the path is too long when included in its entirety, there is another approach that you might take. Why not simply reduce the point size of the portion of the path that is not important. For instance, let's say that you use the FILENAME field to insert the path, and it appears like this:

C:\My Documents and Settings\Level1\Level2\Level3\Level4\Doc1.docx

If you want to hide the part to the left of "Level2," just select that text in the field results, and format it as a very small point size. If you make the point size something like 6 or 7 points, the de-emphasized portion is still legible, but the full path doesn't take up as much linear space in your document. If you want the de-emphasized portion to essentially disappear, you can set the point size to 1 point.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13292) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Limiting Directories in the FILENAME Field.

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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