Making a List of Words Italic

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 8, 2019)

Trent works for a scientific publisher. In the manuscripts he works with there are many technical terms, such as names of various species of insects or animals. Scott has a need to make sure that all of these species names are italicized. Scott wonders if there is a way to use a list of terms (perhaps in a text file) and have Word make sure that each word in the list is shown in the document in italic.

There are multiple add-on tools you could get that would perform this particular task. Two of them suggested by WordTips readers include the following:

FRedit: http://www.archivepub.co.uk/book.html
EditTools: http://www.wordsnsync.com/

These are powerful tools, and you can even get FRedit for free. The downside, of course, is that each tool comes with its own learning curve that you'll need to go through in order to get it to do what you want.

Another approach is to create your own macro to perform the task. Fortunately, such a macro would not be that complex. Basically, you could create a plain text file (using a program such as Notepad) that would contain a single species name on each line. Your macro could then open the file, read each line, and change all instances of that species to italic in your document.

Sub FindSpeciesForItalic2()
    Dim sSpecies As String

    Open "C:\species.txt" For Input As #1
    Do While Not EOF(1)
        Line Input #1, sSpecies
        With Selection.Find
            .ClearFormatting
            .Replacement.ClearFormatting
            .Replacement.Font.Italic = True
            .Text = sSpecies
            .Forward = True
            .Wrap = wdFindContinue
        End With
        Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    Loop
    Close #1
End Sub

This macro relies on the text file named species.txt, stored in the root directory of the C: drive. (You can store it someplace else or name it something else, but in that case, you would need to change the line of code to reflect the changes.) After each line is read from the text file, Find and Replace is used to make sure that the text is changed to italic.

It typically wouldn't be a problem with species names, but you'll want to make sure that each line in the text file is unique enough that you don't get partial words affected in the document. For instance, it wouldn't be a good idea to do a search for just "one" because that would match things like "done" or "tone" or "loner" or... Well, you get the idea.

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 (13639) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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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