Compiling Misspelled Words from Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 29, 2016)

Robert has a folder that has many documents in it. He would like a way to pull all the misspelled words from the documents and place those words in a new document.

Fortunately, Word makes this relatively easy through the use of a macro. This is because the spelling errors are accessible in VBA by examining the .SpellingError collection. Each item in this special collection represents a spelling error in the document.

With this in mind, the following macro shows how to pull together all the spelling errors from each document in a folder.

Sub CheckFolderForSpellErrors()
    'Copy all misspelled words in each document
    'from one directory to a new document.
    'Also lists all documents that have no spelling errors

    Dim cWords As New Collection
    Dim cDocs As New Collection
    Dim vItem As Variant
    Dim rng As Range
    Dim docSourse As Document
    Dim docNew As Document
    Dim vDirectory As String
    Dim vFile As String
    Dim bNoSpellingErrors As Boolean

    Application.ScreenUpdating = False

    vDirectory = "C:\MyFolder\"           ' Path to check

    ' Find first file to check
    vFile = Dir(vDirectory & "*.doc*")

    Do While vFile <> ""
        Documents.Open FileName:=vDirectory & vFile
        Set docSource = ActiveDocument

        If docSource.SpellingErrors.Count > 0 Then
            cWords.Add Item:="Spelling errors found in " & vFile & vbCrLf

            ' add each word to the collection
            For Each rng In docSource.SpellingErrors
                cWords.Add Item:=rng.Text & vbCrLf
        Else ' doc has no spelling errors
            bNoSpellingErrors = True
            cDocs.Add vFile & vbCrLf
        End If

        ActiveDocument.Close (wdDoNotSaveChanges)
        vFile = Dir

    Set docNew = Documents.Add

    For Each vItem In cWords
        Selection.TypeText vItem

    If bNoSpellingErrors Then
        Selection.TypeText "These documents have no spelling errors." & vbCrLf

        For Each vItem In cDocs
            Selection.TypeText vItem & vbCrLf
    End If

    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

The macro uses the Dir command to find any files in the specified folder (vDirectory variable) that end in some variant of "doc." Each of these files is loaded into Word, in turn. While loaded, the .SpellingErrors collection is checked to see if it contains any errors. If it does, then the text of the incorrectly spelled words is added to the cWords collection. If it doesn't, then the file name is added to the cDocs collection.

There is nothing special about either the cWords or the cDocs collections; they were created simply to hold whatever spelling errors and file names were discovered when examining the files. The macro could just as easily have used variable arrays in place of the collections.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when running this macro. First, it can take quite a while to run, depending on the number of documents in the folder and the length of each of those documents. When I ran the macro, I did so on a folder that contained 9 documents averaging about 97 pages per document. It took just under 8 minutes for the macro to complete running, and while it was running I could do nothing else in Word. (In fact, you might easily wonder if your system is "hung.")

Another thing to keep in mind is that the output can be quite long and seem rather redundant. This is because misspelled words can appear multiple times in the .SpellingErrors collection. For instance, let's say you have a document that contains the word "Cftype," which is obviously flagged as being misspelled. If the word is used 30 times in the document, it will be flagged 30 times and therefore end up 30 times in the misspelling list. Although it is beyond the scope of this tip, you could modify the macro to check if a word was previously flagged as misspelled and then add it only if it is unique misspelling.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13488) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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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