Finding and Removing Stubborn Graphics

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 9, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Anita is re-formatting a long document (over 300 pages) that was converted from PDF to Word. She has lots of experience with Word and styles and using Find and Replace to fix badly formatted documents. In this case there is a problem she can't figure out. The original document had horizontal lines in the header and footer that were converted to graphic lines in the Word document. She wants to delete all those graphic lines, but searching for ^g doesn't find them. Anita wonders if there is a way she can automate the removal of these graphic lines, as she'd rather not have to click and press Del 600+ times.

Since it appears that the PDF conversion process is adding the graphics to the header and footer, that means they are not easily "findable" by doing a regular Find and Replace. Instead, you'll want to use a macro to get rid of them. The following example looks only in the header and footer area and deletes any graphics that it finds there.

Sub FooterHeaderGraphicFind()
    Dim rStory As Range
    Dim i As Integer

    For Each rStory In ActiveDocument.StoryRanges
        If rStory.StoryType = wdPrimaryFooterStory Or _
          rStory.StoryType = wdPrimaryHeaderStory Then
            For i = rStory.Shapes.Count To 1 Step -1
                rStory.Shapes(i).Delete
            Next i
        End If
    Next rStory
End Sub

Note that it deletes all the shapes in the header or footer, not just lines. (There is no way to differentiate the content of one graphic shape from another.)

Of course, there could be a much simpler way to handle the situation, without the need for a macro:

  1. Open the Word document that was converted from the PDF file.
  2. Open a brand-new document. (You should now have two documents open at the same time.)
  3. In the converted document, press Ctrl+A. This selects everything in the document.
  4. Press Ctrl+C. This copies everything to the Clipboard.
  5. Switch to the brand-new document.
  6. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  7. Click the down-arrow under the Paste tool. Word displays a variety of pasting options.
  8. Click the Keep Text Only tool. (It looks like a clipboard with the letter A at the bottom-right.) Word pastes unformatted text from the Clipboard into the target document.

This approach should get rid of any type of graphic and formatting artifacts introduced into the document by the PDF conversion process. The result is a "clean" document that you can format any way you want. This approach is especially easy if you have implemented and can apply styles throughout the document.

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 (13510) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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