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: Strip Trailing Spaces.

Strip Trailing Spaces

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 26, 2022)

1

Maybe I'm one of those compulsive-obsessive types, but I always go through my documents to make sure there are no trailing spaces at the end of a paragraph. This makes the document neater and smaller. If you format ASCII files or documents you receive from other people, you will need to search for trailing spaces and remove them as you format the file for Word. It can get a bit tricker if you have dangling tab characters at the end of some paragraphs.

I use a macro to take care of such detritus in the document. The following macro, StripSpaces, takes out all spaces and trailing tabs before paragraph marks and manual line breaks throughout your document.

Sub StripSpaces()
    Selection.HomeKey Unit:=wdStory
    Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
    Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
    With Selection.Find
        .Text = "^w^p"
        .Replacement.Text = "^p"
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindContinue
        .Format = False
        .MatchWholeWord = False
        .MatchWildcards = False
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute

    Selection.Find.Text = "^w^l"
    Selection.Find.Replacement.Text = "^l"
    Selection.Find.Execute
End Sub

Assign the macro to a shortcut key or to the Quick Access Toolbar, and you can get rid of those extra spaces and tabs lickety-split.

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 (13376) 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: Strip Trailing Spaces.

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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Comments

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What is four less than 7?

2022-03-28 11:48:27

Kathy

Thank you! I always do this with "find and replace." Never thought to make it into a macro and shortcut key for even faster clean-up
!


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