Archive for the ‘Word’ Category


Office 2021 standalone version announced

February 20, 2021

For those not on an Office 365 subscription who wish to stay with a standalone version, Microsoft has just announced that there will be an Office 2021 available to purchase.


[Link last checked February 2021]


Word: Find a special character written as text

February 15, 2021

When you want to find a special character, such as a paragraph mark, in Microsoft Word, you have to use a special character (in this case, ^p to search for all paragraph marks). And for most situations this works as you’d expect.

But if you’ve written ^p as text in a document, as I did for a document I’m writing on Word’s find and replace functions, where I need to type the characters used to find the special character, then you can’t search for that text string by typing ^p as the search term. Instead of finding what you wrote, you get results that list ALL paragraph marks in the document, and nothing matching what you wrote.

I tried all sorts of things with wildcards, escape characters etc. before asking a specialist editors’ group on Facebook, where one of the members pointed me in the right direction—you have to add another caret before the ^p, so ^^p.

Easy when you know how!


Clipboard popup in system tray area

January 5, 2021

Here’s a weird one. J was copy/pasting from Firefox into Notepad. He had Word open in the background but wasn’t using Word. All of a sudden, he started getting a popup in the system tray area for ‘1 of 24 items on the clipboard’ every time he copied something from Firefox (text, URL, etc.). He’d never seen it before, and nor had I. Because the popup showed from the system tray, and because he wasn’t using Word at the time (although Word was open), I assumed it was Windows 10 was creating this popup, but it wasn’t—it was Office.

My first check was the Windows 10 system settings. However, the clipboard history option was already turned off (Settings > System > Clipboard). A bit more Googling and I found another possible solution that didn’t involve modifying the Registry (last resort option!). I tried it—and it worked! But it certainly wasn’t an intuitive place to look.

  1. Open Word (if not already open). (Note: These steps may work in any Office program, not just Word).
  2. On the Home tab, click the small dialog launcher arrow at the bottom right of the Clipboard group. This opens the Clipboard panel.
  3. At the bottom of the Clipboard panel, click Options.
  4. Check the settings—if Show Status Near Taskbar When Copying is checked, click it to clear the check mark.
  5. Check the other option settings as well and turn off those you don’t want.

After turning it off, J did another copy/paste and the popup had gone. Problem solved!


Word: How to make popups in Word, using Word

November 26, 2020

Add another to my list of ‘I didn’t know you could do this!’ Did you know you can add tooltip-style popups for certain text when you hover over it? However, my testing since I posted this video link shows there are several issues with this (I’ve documented these results after the second video).

Here’s a 90-second YouTube video that explains how:

Having now tested this method (above), which uses the AutoTextList field code (results below the next video), I can’t recommend it.

Instead, I found another method that uses bookmarks and hyperlinks and that seems to work much better and give you more options for adding quite an amount of text (about 1800 characters, instead of the 255 character limit of the field code method above). And it seems to work every time. The bookmark/hyperlink method I recommend is shown in this 9.5 minute YouTube video (

For those interested, here are the results from my testing of the field code method (first video above). I wanted to see if the popup text:

  • retains the style of the paragraph it is in — no, but the keyword does
  • has a word or character limit — yes, 255 characters, including spaces
  • works on a phrase, not just a keyword — couldn’t test as it deleted my next attempts and left a blank space
  • can be used several times — couldn’t test as stuff kept disappearing
  • translates into popup text when you save the Word doc as PDF — no
  • translates into popup text when you save the Word doc as HTML — no
  • prints — no (and the option to print AutoText entries only prints the AutoText entries you’ve defined using the AutoText function, NOT the tooltip AutoTextList field entries)
  • adds items to your AutoText entries — no.

I also wanted to know what the \s, \t, and NoStyle items in the field code represent and if their order matters:

  • \s — ‘defines the content for the field’; this is the keyword you put into the ‘word seen’ bit of the field. It MUST go after AutoTetxtList and can either go before or after the keyword
  • \t — ‘defines the tip for the field’; this is the text you want to popup when you hover over the keyword. The order matters — this MUST go in front of the tooltip text
  • NoStyle — sets the style for the tooltip text to ‘NoStyle’. I changed this to Emphasis (a character style) and nothing happened to either the word or the tooltip text (I expected it to be styled with italics). I then set up a character style for red text and a para style for green text and tried those—nothing worked, so it looks like no matter what you set for the style, it will still be formatted as per the underlying text of the paragraph it is in. The order doesn’t matter, except that thiis MUST go after AutoTextList; I tried it in front of the ‘word seen’ bit, at the end of the field code, and the tooltip still worked.

While I got this to work a couple of times, I couldn’t get it to work consistently (I was testing with Word 365 for Windows). It has some severe limitations; for example:

  • If you change the ‘word seen’ bit at a later time, the original word you wrote remains and the new text doesn’t get recognised.
  • At times in my testing Word would delete my ‘word seen’ bit altogether and I don’t know why. I tried to add this as a field using the Quick Parts > Field options and entering the context work (keyword) and tooltip text there, but that disappeared too.
  • I found that using F9 would cause the keyword to disappear and therefore the popup didn’t work at all.
  • Without being able to style the keyword differently, this function isn’t very useful to the reader if they don’t have field shading turned on as they can’t tell which words have got tooltips associated with them except by hovering over every word.

Note: Alt+F9 toggles all the field codes on and off.

[Links last checked November 2020]


Word: Batch convert old DOC documents to DOCX

November 22, 2020

I was going through some folders and found quite a number of Word files in DOC format that I created before I started using Word 2007, which was when the DOCX format was introduced. While I can open each and save it as DOCX, that becomes very tedious if you have more than a few to do. Off to the internet to see if there was a macro or other way of batch converting DOC files to DOCX files.

The two that offered the most promise were a macro from the makers of Kutools ( and a converter program ( I thought I’d try the macro first, and as it worked fine for what I wanted, I didn’t download and test the converter program.

Notes about the macro:

  • When testing, put the DOC files into a temporary folder and run the macro on that folder. You can copy the resulting DOCX files to the correct folder later. Once you are confident it works as expected, you could run the macro on the original folder.
  • Subfolders are ignored. The macro only works on the selected folder.
  • All the DOC files are opened briefly, then saved as DOCX, without your intervention. Let the macro run until it finishes.
  • All the new DOCX files will have the current date as the date of creation. All original date creation and modification information will be lost, and also possibly original author information (I didn’t check this).
  • If there are already DOCX files of the same name in the folder, this process will overwrite them automatically. This isn’t usually an issue, but if at some point you manually saved a DOC file as DOCX, then modified it, the converted DOCX file will overwrite that modified file. This is why it’s advisable to do these conversions in a separate folder to the original, then copy back once done.
  • If some of the DOC files are quite old, you may get a message that it cannot save Word 95 binary files (or similar), and the macro will not run. To include these documents in the conversion, got to File > Options in Word, then select Trust Center. Click Trust Center Settings, then go to File Block Settings. Uncheck the boxes for relevant file types that the macro got hung up on. Don’t forget to change this back later!

And in case that macro ever goes missing from the website linked above, I’ve pasted it here, with some additional comments. If you use this one, copy it all—do not retype it as several lines go off the page:

Sub ConvertDocToDocx()
' Opens all DOC files in a folder and saves as DOCX files
' Asks for the folder location of the DOC files when you run the macro
' If DOCX files of the same name exist in the folder, it will overwrite them
' Recommendation: Put DOC files into a separate folder and run there
' NOTE: Converted files will have today's date---original file date is lost forever

' From: by ExtendOffice 20181128
' From (22 Nov 2020):

    Dim xDlg As FileDialog
    Dim xFolder As Variant
    Dim xFileName As String
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    Set xDlg = Application.FileDialog(msoFileDialogFolderPicker)
    If xDlg.Show <> -1 Then Exit Sub
    xFolder = xDlg.SelectedItems(1) + "\"
    xFileName = Dir(xFolder & "*.doc", vbNormal)
    While xFileName <> ""
        Documents.Open FileName:=xFolder & xFileName, _
            ConfirmConversions:=False, ReadOnly:=False, AddToRecentFiles:=False, _
            PasswordDocument:="", PasswordTemplate:="", Revert:=False, _
            WritePasswordDocument:="", WritePasswordTemplate:="", Format:= _
            wdOpenFormatAuto, XMLTransform:=""
        ActiveDocument.SaveAs xFolder & Replace(xFileName, "doc", "docx"), wdFormatDocumentDefault
        xFileName = Dir()
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

[Links last checked 22 November 2020]



Word: Add parentheses around a footnote number

November 20, 2020

Warning: I don’t use footnotes, and my authors rarely use them so footnotes and endnotes are not something I’m familiar with in Word.

M contacted me and asked how he could change the footnote numbers in his dissertation from unadorned superscripted numbers to those same numbers but with parentheses around them. He’d done some testing and had found a Quora post ( that detailed how to get rid of them, but couldn’t figure out how to add them automatically. Doing it manually in the body of the document and in the footnote area wasn’t going to work as there were hundreds of them.

The Quora post alerted me to something I wasn’t aware of—there’s a special wildcard symbol for footnotes: ^2. Armed with that information, I opened a new Word document, added some text and inserted some footnotes into it. Then I did a find and replace using wildcards and was able to automatically insert parentheses around all the superscripted footnotes, both in the body of the document and in the footnote area.

Wildcards must be on and you must have the cursor in the main body of the document, NOT the footnotes area, then:

  • Find: (^2)
  • Replace: (\1)

What this does is find a footnote number (the ^2 bit), but so that I could reference that in the replace, I surrounded it in parentheses, thus (^2).

The replace adds an opening and closing parenthesis either side of the found number (that’s the \1 bit).


  • You should only run this once, once you have all footnotes in place. If there are already parentheses around some footnote numbers, you will end up with two parentheses.
  • Any new footnotes you add will NOT have the parentheses. This does NOT change how Word auto numbers footnotes.

Word: Convert voice to text

November 10, 2020

In my previous post, I showed you how I extracted the audio (voiceover) from an MP4 Zoom presentation. Once I had the audio track as an MP3 file, I now had to look at how to convert that to text as automatically as possible. Yes, there are many tools out there that do this, but I thought I’d start with something I already had—Microsoft Word.

According to various internet sites, you just have to upload the audio file and click ‘Transcribe’. The problem was that I couldn’t find this option in my Word for Windows (Office 365). On reading closer and looking at the screenshots I found on the internet, I realised that while I didn’t have this option available in my installed copy of Word, it WAS available in the online version of Word available from my Office online account, which I rarely use.

Some of these instructions may vary for you, depending on how you have your One Drive / Office online account set up. Also, I couldn’t get this transcribe function to work in Chrome, but it did work in Firefox.

  1. Log in to your OneDrive / Office online account.
  2. Click the icon that shows the list of Office apps.
  3. Select Word then open a new (blank) document.
  4. Click Dictate button on the far right of the ribbon, then select Transcribe from the available options. 
  5. Click Upload Audio, then navigate to and select the audio file you want to transcribe.
  6. Wait. It can take about an hour to transcribe an hour-long audio file of speech; the progress bar shows how much has been done. 
  7. Once the audio file is converted, the transcribed text will either be in the Word document or ready to paste into the Word document.
  8. Save this document as you would normally (Optional: download it to your computer).
  9. Edit the file, as required.

[Links last checked November 2020]


How to extract the audio from an MP4 file

November 10, 2020

I had a Zoom recording of a presentation I’d done for a webinar. I was really happy with the audio that accompanied the slides and I wanted to extract it, delete the parts that were specific to that webinar, and then re-use it. In the end, however, I ended up just extracting the audio and transcribing it with Word, then editing that transcription and using it as the basis of a script for another recording.

This post is about getting the audio out of the MP4 recording. I’ve done another on using Word to automatically convert it into text (

I used the Windows version of Avidemux (free; available here:, and it took less than 2 minutes to save the audio track from an hour-long presentation.

  1. Open Avidemux.
  2. Open the MP4 file you want to extract the audio from (File > Open, navigate to and select the MP4 file).
  3. Select the Audio Output type from the drop-down list on the left (I chose MP3).
  4. Select Audio > Save Audio from the menu. 
  5. Navigate to where you want to save the audio, give the file a name, then click Save.

Once you have the audio track, you can do other things with it. For example, you might want to keep it intact, but cut bits from the beginning or end, or anywhere within the recording (Audacity is good for this). Or you might want to cut it up into separate audio files, one for each slide (again, I’d look at using Audacity for this; it’s not something I’ve done, but I expect it’s possible). Or you might want to import the audio track into Word and get Word to automatically convert it into text to use as a script (see 

[Links last checked November 2020]


Word: How to find the Organizer window

November 10, 2020

It’s been 10 years since I last wrote specifically about the Organizer in Word, so it’s time for an update. What triggered this post was someone lamenting on a editors’ Facebook group that the Organizer window was really hard to find in later versions of Word.

Well, yes it is, but that’s always been the case. It was never something that you could find on a ribbon or on a menu (pre ribbon days). So this post details all the ways you can access the Organizer in Word for Windows (Office 365), and even some tips on how to make it more readily accessible if you use it often.

(For those not familiar with the Organizer, it’s a quick way to copy styles and macros from one Word document to another.)

Paths to open the Organizer window:

  • Templates and Add-ins window: Developer tab > Document template > Templates tab — bottom left corner of the window has the Organizer button, which opens the Organizer window (how to add the Developer tab:
  • Manage Styles window: Styles pane (Alt+Ctrl+Shift+s) > Manage Styles icon to the immediate left of the Options button at the bottom of the Styles pane — bottom left corner of the window has the Import/Export button, which opens the Organizer window
  • Macros window: Alt+F8 to open the Macros window (or View tab > Macros) — Organizer button on the right at the bottom opens the Organizer window.

In addition to these paths, you could also assign a keyboard shortcut to open the Organizer window, or add it as a Quick Access Toolbar icon, or add it as a button on one of your ribbons (or a customised ribbon):

[Links last checked November 2020]



Word: Find 3-digit numbers

October 8, 2020

A reader wanted to know how to find the 3-digit numbers in their document.

Using wildcards, that sounds easy enough, but the issue is that my initial attempt (find: ([0-9]{3}) ) found ALL strings of three numbers, not just the whole numbers that have ONLY three numbers. So, in a number like 12345, it found 123, then 234, then 345.

I needed to add more commands to force it to ignore longer numbers and numbers containing punctuation (e.g. decimal numbers and thousand separators). The only way to do that was to make it look for a space followed by a 3-digit number, followed by a space or any other ending punctuation (comma, period, colon, semicolon, question marks, exclamation point, closing parenthesis, closing square bracket should cover most variations).

Note: I use Word for Windows—the commands may be a little different in Word for Mac.


  1. Press Ctrl+h to open the Find and Replace window.
  2. Click the Find tab.
  3. Click More to open the lower section of the window.
  4. Select the Use wildcards checkbox.
  5. In the Find what field, type: ( )([0-9]{3})([ .,;:\)\]\?\!])  (you may find it easier to copy this then paste it into the Find field; Note: the first set of parentheses contains a space, and the third set of parentheses has a space immediately after the opening square bracket).
  6. Click Find Next.

How this works

  • ( ) looks for a space 
  • ([0-9]) looks for any number from 0 to 9 immediately following the space, and {3} looks for any string of three numbers
  • ([ .,;:\)\]\?\!]) looks for a range (that’s the square brackets immediately inside the parentheses) containing any of these: a space, period, comma, semicolon, colon, then punctuation symbols that have to be ‘escaped’ because they are also special commands in wildcard searches—these are each preceded by a backward slash (the ‘escape’ character) and are a closing parenthesis, a closing square bracket, a question mark, and an exclamation point.