How to find acronyms in a Word document

4 months ago 23
PR Distribution

Lots of documents are afloat of acronyms; immoderate are defined, immoderate aren't. If you request to reappraisal acronyms for immoderate reason, present are 3 approaches.


Illustration: Lisa Hornung, Getty Images/iStockPhoto

Enterprise users person it made erstwhile searching for acronyms and their definitions due to the fact that Microsoft Word's newish Editor has that functionality built in. The remainder of america person to enactment a spot harder to find acronyms, and fortunately there's much than 1 way. 

SEE: 83 Excel tips each idiosyncratic should master (TechRepublic)

An acronym is simply a bid of initials utilized to correspond a longer phrase. For instance, URL isn't a connection connected its own, it's an acronym for Uniform oregon Universal Resource Locator. In this article, I'll amusement you 3 ways to item them successful a document.

I'm utilizing Microsoft 365 connected a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you tin usage earlier versions. This nonfiction isn't supported by Word Online. You tin participate your ain content, but if you download the objection .docm, .doc and .cls files, you'll person speedy entree to the codification reviewed successful this article.

1. How to usage the Acronym pane successful Word

The endeavor mentation of Microsoft 365 has a diagnostic that lists acronyms for you successful the desktop and online versions. To spot a database of defined acronyms, click the References tab. The Acronyms pane volition amusement a database of your defined acronyms. By defined, I mean the operation the acronym represents. Again, for URL, the pane would besides show Uniform oregon Universal Resource Locator. If you prime an acronym successful the text, this diagnostic volition adhd the explanation for you! If you don't find a definition, you tin hold a fewer days to spot if the diagnostic updates accordingly, oregon you tin specify it yourself. This diagnostic is disposable lone with an endeavor license. 

2. How to usage Find successful Word

If you don't person an endeavor license, you tin usage the Find diagnostic to item each the acronyms successful a document. It's important to enactment that this method isn't arsenic astute arsenic you mightiness deliberation due to the fact that it volition item immoderate lawsuit of 2 oregon much uppercase letters. That means the results mightiness item thing different than a existent acronym. Now, let's look astatine a hunt drawstring that you tin use:

  1. Click Ctrl + F oregon click the Editing dropdown connected the Home tab to unfastened the Navigation pane. From the dropdown (to the right), take Advanced Find.
  2. Click More and past cheque the Use Wildcards option.
  3. Check the No Formatting enactment astatine the bottommost if not dimmed. The Find diagnostic remembers the past Find task and if it includes formatting, you mightiness not get the expected results. It's a bully thought to ever cheque this enactment erstwhile starting a caller Find task.
  4. In the Find What control, participate <[A-Z]{2,}> (Figure A).
  5. Click Reading Highlight and past click Highlight All.
  6. Click Close to spot the highlights shown successful Figure B.

Figure A


  Complete the Find options.

Figure B


  Highlight each instances of 2 oregon much uppercase characters.

This method has 2 flaws:

  • It highlights MD. While you mightiness see it an acronym of sorts, you astir apt won't privation to item it successful this benignant of search. If you close it to M.D. (with periods), the Find task volition disregard it.
  • All the highlights vanish arsenic soon arsenic you click something.

This method tin beryllium much frustrating than adjuvant due to the fact that the highlights aren't permanent. Now, let's look astatine a VBA process that has a much imperishable outcome.

3. How to usage a VBA process successful Word

A speedy item mightiness beryllium each you need, but astir of the time, you'll privation thing much permanent. The process successful Listing A does the aforesaid happening that the Find drawstring successful the past conception does. The lone quality is that it's imperishable until you region it. You tin usage this aforesaid codification to region the highlights by changing .Replacement.Highlight to False.

Listing A

Sub HighlightAcronyms()

'This process highlights each instances of 2 oregon more

'uppercase letters.


    With Selection.Find

        .Text = "<[A-Z]{2,}"

        .Forward = True

        .Wrap = wdFindContinue

        .MatchWildcards = True

        .Replacement.Text = ""

        .Replacement.Highlight = True         'False to region highlights.

        .Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll

    End With

End Sub

This codification does precisely the aforesaid happening arsenic you did manually successful the past section. It uses a hunt drawstring to find each instances of 2 oregon much consecutive uppercase letters. As earlier, sometimes the process volition item thing that's not a existent acronym.  

SEE: Windows 10: Lists of vocal commands for code designation and dictation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

If you're utilizing a ribbon version, beryllium definite to prevention the workbook arsenic a macro-enabled record oregon the process won't run. If you're utilizing a paper version, you tin skip this step. To adhd the procedure, property Alt + F11 to unfastened the Visual Basic Editor. In the Project Explorer to the left, prime ThisWorkbook truthful you tin tally the process successful immoderate sheet. You tin participate the codification manually oregon import the downloadable .cls file. In addition, the macro is successful the downloadable .docm and .doc files. If you participate the codification manually, don't paste from this web page. Instead, transcript the codification into a substance exertion and past paste that codification into the ThisWorkbook module. Doing truthful volition region immoderate phantom web characters that mightiness different origin errors.

After entering the procedure, you tin usage it arsenic follows:

  1. Click the Developers tab.
  2. Click Macros successful the Code group.
  3. In the resulting dialog, take HighlightAcronyms() arsenic shown in Figure C and click Run.

Figure C


  Run the procedure.

As you tin spot successful Figure D, the acronyms are permanently highlighted. To region them, tally Sub HighlightAcronymsRemove(), which is successful the objection files. I didn't see it successful the nonfiction text, due to the fact that lone 1 connection changes. Depending connected however you're calling the procedure, you could usage 1 process and walk the True/False worth arsenic a Boolean.

Figure D


This item volition enactment until you region it. 

It's improbable that you'll privation to enactment done each those steps each clip you privation to tally the procedure. Instead, adhd the macro to the Quick Access Toolbar. To bash so, read How to adhd Office macros to the QAT toolbar for speedy access.  

Microsoft Weekly Newsletter

Be your company's Microsoft insider by speechmaking these Windows and Office tips, tricks, and cheat sheets. Delivered Mondays and Wednesdays

Sign up today

Also see

Read Entire Article