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Find & Replace (w\ Long Strings)
(A Microsoft Word Help & Tip page by Gregory K. Maxey)

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The purpose of this Microsoft Word Tips & Microsoft Word Help page will show you how you can overcome the 255 character limit is Word built-in Find and Replace dialog "Find what:" and "Replace with:" text fields.

The 255 character replace string limit is easily overcome by copying the replace string text to the clipboard and using the character code "^c" in the "Replace with:" window of the dialog box or as the .Replacement.Text value in you VBA procedure code.

find and replace with long string 1

find and replace with long string 2

Another handy method for defining any replacement text string and even a graphic is to use AutoText. Word MVP Graham Mayor and I worked out the VBA which Graham has posted on his web site here: Replace w/AutoText.  Or use the replace with AutoText option in VBA Find & Replace.

Unfortunately the character code ^c doesn't work in the "Find what" window. Even find strings constructed using wildcards are limited to 255 characters as shown below.

find and replace with long string 3

If you try to set a find or replace strings that are > 255 characters in length in VBA, a run-time error is generated.

find and replace with long string 4

I worked with Dave Lett and Helmut Weber, both former contributors the old Word VBA newsgroup, to develop a macro that would perform a find and replace routine where the text you are looking for exceeds 255 characters.

In this solution, both the find and replace strings are defined in a separate document. Here is the macro code:

VBA Script:
Sub LongStringFindReplace()
Dim oSourceDoc As Document
Dim srchTxt As String
Dim replaceRng As Range
Dim i As Long
  Set oSourceDoc = Documents.Open(FileName:="C:\Long String Source.doc")
  'Establish find string
  srchTxt = oSourceDoc.Paragraphs(1).Range.Text
  srchTxt = Left(srchTxt, Len(srchTxt) - 1) 'Remove paragraph mark
  'Establish replace text and copy to clipboard
  Set replaceRng = oSourceDoc.Paragraphs(2).Range
  replaceRng.MoveEnd Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=-1 'Remove paragraph mark
  replaceRng.Copy
  oSourceDoc.Close
  ActiveDocument.Range(0, 0).Select
  If Len(srchTxt) > 250 Then
    i = Len(srchTxt) - 250
    With Selection.Find
      .Text = Left(srchTxt, 250)
      .Forward = True
      .Wrap = wdFindContinue
      Do While .Execute
        'Move end of selection to match length of srchTxt
        Selection.MoveEnd Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=i
        'Compare selection to search string
        If Selection.Text = srchTxt Then
          'Replace selction with clipboard contents
          Selection.Paste
        Else
          Selection.MoveRight
        End If
      Loop
    End With
  Else
    ResetFRParameters
    With Selection.Find
      .Text = srchTxt
      .Replacement.Text = "^c"
      .Forward = True
      .Wrap = wdFindContinue
      .Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    End With
  End If
lbl_Exit:
  Exit Sub
End Sub

Sub ResetFRParameters()
  With Selection.Find
    .ClearFormatting
    .Replacement.ClearFormatting
    .Text = ""
    .Replacement.Text = ""
    .Forward = True
    .Wrap = wdFindContinue
    .Format = False
    .MatchCase = False
    .MatchWholeWord = True
    .MatchWildcards = False
    .MatchSoundsLike = False
    .MatchAllWordForms = False
  End With
lbl_Exit:
  Exit Sub
End Sub

Site Note icon See: Installing Macros for instructions on how to set up and use the macros provided in this Microsoft Word Help & Microsoft Word Tips page.

That's it! I hope you have found this tips page useful and informative.

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