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Word Macro Programming

News Ms Word Macros and advanced features Word 2000 Developer's Handbook Writing Word
Word 2000 VBA Programmers Reference Etc

The key advantage of the MS Office -- common macro language for all applications in a suit, is the advantage that is still unmatched by rivals. Also the level of support of MS Office (books, training materials, add-ons, etc) is far superior to the alternatives.  That mean that MS Office including its crown jewel MS Word still makes sense in the open world. But if only if :

The main problem with the Office is that until Office 2007 both MS Word and Excel documents formats were proprietary and generally undocumented. But for all earlier versions you still can export documents in Open formats including RTF and XHTML. The latter needs some postprocessing (see, for example demoroniser), if you want to publish it; raw Ms Word xhtml contains too many Microsoft styles.

Still absence of the internal representation accessibility somewhat limits what you can do in MS Word (and complicate debugging). That's probably the most severe shortcoming of MS Word.  and that why I personally often use FrontPage as an alternative to MS Word despite might weaker spellchecker and absence of many vital for word processing capabilities.

The absence of the internal representation view limits what you can do in MS Word  and complicates debugging of complex documents

Contrary to the opinion of typical Linux zealots, I am convinced that Microsoft Word was and still is a very good program that was innovative at the time of introduction and positively influenced the field previously dominated by somewhat backward WordPerfect (which, paradoxically, has an access to the view of the internal representation of the document).  I would agree that from the point of view of supporting open formats like HTML and XML, MS Word still have room to grow, but I am surprised how Adobe managed to monopolize the field of document viewers despite the fact that MS Word viewers would be clearly adequate (and somewhat superior due to the quality of MS Word as a tool for creating them) tool. 

In the past (in the MS DOS environment) MS Word was always underdog to WordPerfect, but despite this second place that most PC magazines assigned to in in 1987-1994 (or may be due to it :-) it was always more innovative word processor than WordPerfect:

BTW it is funny that generally more conservative WordPerfect has "show the source" concept of showing raw source format similar to HTML editors of today and MS Word never had it. because in other areas MS Word was more innovative work processor.  If you remember the days of character-based WordPerfect, you will remember the "reveal codes" feature, which shows an editable view of the current file with the internal formatting codes visible. This gave the user more control of the underlying text-processing than MS Word. That why lawyers always prefer WordPerfect and that's why many advanced users (including myself) for simple documents are now using FrontPage instead of MS Word (FrontPage is now part of Office Professional).

Inability of MS Word transparently show its internal format
 always was one of the biggest shortcomings of this very powerful program

In addition to being rather expensive outside of North America,  today's versions of Microsoft Office are huge and try to implement everything  possible under the sun. The best original ideas are buried under the bloat of "me too" features. For example how many people use MS Word outlining capabilities, the really innovative feature of MS Word. My guestimate is that less then 1%.  If you do not need all the capabilities you can probably use cheaper substitutes. What are the alternatives?

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

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Word 2000 Developer's Handbook

Word 2000 Developer's Handbook

by Guy Hart-Davis

5 out of 5 stars A great book, November 5, 2002
  Reviewer: rick_in_texas (see more about me) from Cypress, TX United States
I bought this book because I needed to learn VBA for my job. The author does an excellent job explaining things and doesn't wander off into theory like many other books do. There are plenty of examples to learn from and after about three days of reading I had enough of an understanding of VBA to begin using the book as a reference to look up things I wanted to do. I saw another review state this book was her bible, I have to agree because this book stays by my side and has helped me learn what I needed to. If you need to learn VBA quickly and you don't have a background in programming buy this book!
5 out of 5 stars a perfect guide, October 26, 2002
  Reviewer: A reader from Houston, Texas United States
I bought this book from a Word MVP recommendation.

I had previously learned Word VBA from the book "Word 97 Annoyances" (good start for people interested in Word VBA) and from many on line tutorials.

Guy Hart-Davis provides a complete guide to Word 2000 VBA language. It helped me to structure my work and gave me more ways to analyze my code. It helped to find out more possibilities of Word VBA. The author goes deeper into explaining all the tools available.

Plus there is a central idea.

Although VBA is a computer language programming, we should not forget that we are dealing with a Word Processor and that Word VBA is a tool for automation of repetitive tasks and getting your work faster. The author provides a view that does not forget this central point.

With a little of experience users will understand that a few times you will gain time if you record a macro and edit it rather than just trying to write the code from the beginning. Word VBA is not C or C++. This flexibility is clearly shown along the book. Yet, it also goes deeper into the complexities of Word VBA. So people interested in a more complete approach (like me) will be satisfied with the plethora of technical information

As the author mentions in one of the Introductory texts, this book does not force the reader to read it from cover to cover to start coding. It is well written and (not excessively) good-humored, what, truth to be told, makes it easier to read a 1200 pages book.


4 out of 5 stars Great content!, September 15, 1999
  Reviewer: synergy_ron (see more about me) from Bellingham, WA United States
The author/publisher now posts the 'advertised' files on the sibex web site. They aren't organized as effectively as they could be but at least they are listed. (I would give the book 5 stars if if the files were more useful)

Guy obviously knows his stuff! I come to this book after developing a 1.2 mb WordBasic application for Word v 2 and with a fair amount of Visual Basic experience.

I was looking for a book that would present me with the 'ins and outs' of Word VBA and be useful as a reference as I developed my own applications. THIS BOOK EXCELS in meeting these objectives! Guy has done a great job So, while this book does not teach object oriented programming principles and conepts it DOES excel at giving a LOT of useful information on how to use the objects, methods and properties of Word 2000 VBA.

I looked far and long for a good Word VBA book and in my opinion this one is the best! Good job Guy!

1 out of 5 stars Buy this book and get screwed !!!, July 30, 1999

Reviewer: synergy_ron (see more about me) from Bellingham, WA United States I ordered this book and was very pleased when it arrived. It sounds like it would shine a lot of light on how to develope Word 2000 applications with VBA.

When the book arrived I noticed that it did not have a CD. I went to the SYBEX web site and sure enough it stated that the cd was part of the book. (they have since removed that statement).

So, I started reading the book. In the intro on page xxxix the author states:

The code listings and user forms from the hook are avilable on the Sybex Web site (  ). From the home page, click the Catalog button to reach the catalog page, enter the four-digit book number in the search box and click the Submit button. Follow the search results to get to the book's Web page and click the Download button to get to the code and user forms.

There is NO CD. There is no download button the web site. Did anyone proof read this book? Is anyone paying attention? If they (the author and publisher) can't even get delivery of the code right, what else is screwed up?

I emailed the author and told him of the situation. He replied with:

As you saw, Sybex originally planned for the book to include a CD. But when the book grew to nearly 300 pages over its planned length shortly before publication, Sybex decided -- rather than cut any of the material -- to cut the CD and instead put the key contents (the code, the user forms, the template, and the walkthroughs) on its Web site. These should be appearing very soon on the Web site; the information on the Web page for the book will change to describe the book accurately; and the Downloads button will be added to the page. (I should mention at this point that I do not control the Sybex Web site.)

"Soon"? When?

Sure mistakes happen. But, Sybex ignores me. The author blames Sybex. There is no excuse for that kind of treatment. The problem is nobody helps. No one takes responsibility. The author made no effort to send me the missing code. Sybex responded with "we will get back to you on this".

This book ASSUMES that you have access to the code. Without it you are relegated to typing it all in and thereby loose the continuity of the material.

So, if this is how YOU want to be treated, if you have masochistic tendencies, if you want to get LESS than you paid for go ahead and get this book. --This text refers to the Paperback edition

Writing Word Macros

Writing Word Macros

TITLE: Writing Word Macros
by Steven Roman
ISBN: 1565927257
Publisher: Oreilly and Associates Inc
Publish Date: 15th November 1999
Binding: Paperback , 388 pages
Weight: 1.45 pounds
List Price: USD 34.95

3 out of 5 stars Review of Writing Word Macros, June 6, 2000
  Reviewer: David Sisson from USA
I needed a book to carry me over from WordBasic to VBA. While the book was helpful, I found the examples woefully inadaquate.

I, nor anyone else in my office, is writing a book, so the examples relating to writing 'this' book, seemed foreign. More examples of data selection and range manipulating would be more useful. However, the chapter covering tables was useful, and I refer to it often.

I thought the book struggled with keeping elementary and advanced concepts seperate.

I would not recommend this book for a first time macro user, but rather someone who has had some experience with Visual Basic or WordBasic.

4 out of 5 stars This book was OK, but could be widened a bit., June 22, 2000
  Reviewer: Brent H. Snyder (see more about me) from Manassas, VA USA
I found that this book was helpful, but only if I needed to write VBA macros within a word document. It would have been nice if it could have been expanded to show how to write the same macros external of a specific document and so could be used universally. Still, the author did in fact say that that was out of the scope of this book, so I really cannot complain too much. All in all, I found this book useful, especially for someone like me who's not very much into Visual Basic.
2 out of 5 stars Not enough thought, June 10, 2001
  Reviewer: John Robert Brews from Santa Fe, NM
The author has not really tried to be helpful. He doesn't even describe how to use the clipboard to copy and paste. Granted, this has been made more difficult in Word 2000, and requires some extra material, but it is such a fundamental issue it is hard to see how it can be completely ignored.

2 out of 5 stars writing word macros, December 29, 2000

  Reviewer: N O Wade from Whitchurch, Hampshire United Kingdom
If you are looking for a concise reference to using word macros - don't bother with this book. This book is written in the style of so many "junk books" today that seem to market themselves around waffle thinly veneered as fact. The pages meander aimlessly around the subject without truly coming to grips with any one aspect. With this book as with so many before it, I am bound to ask whether the public at large are simple minded or just plain stupid. The book would be better served as a bed time story than to purport to be of much assistance in writing word macros. So much of the text is taken up with superfluous diction and "as I previously have stated" chunks of text, that any really useful information is difficult to locate and the reader would be better served to save their money and refer to the online help in VBA which, if obtuse, is at least concise.

5 out of 5 stars What are other reviewers reading?, November 3, 2000
  Reviewer: david anderson from seattle
I just finished reading this book from cover to cover. I think it is excellent and I am wondering what the reviewers from Bothel and Sugar Hill read?

I guess the reviewer from Sugar Hill must have read a different book, because he mentions that he bought the book to learn about the "Word object" and he says that Roman says he won't cover that object in detail.

THERE IS NO WORD OBJECT IN THE WORD OBJECT MODEL and Roman does not say that there is (as far as I could tell). It's too bad that reviewers don't take a little more responsibility for accuracy before posting a review of someone else's work.

How can we trust reviews otherwise?


Word 2000 VBA Programmers Reference

Word 2000 VBA Programmers Reference

... Looks like junk...

3 out of 5 stars Good as a Word VBA Primer, August 26, 2000
  Reviewer: Paul R. Mow (see more about me) from Honolulu, Hawaii USA
I like this book, but it shouldn't pretend to be one designed for experienced VB programmers. The early chapters look like they are taken straight out of an "Introduction to Visual Basic 6" type book. The back half of the book is a listing of the Word Object model. The best parts are in the middle which show how use Word with an Access database among other things. There's no examples of using Word with a SQL 7.0 database (focus is on Access). The book needs to talk about the pros and cons of placing code in a Word template instead of a separate VB project.
1 out of 5 stars Why not just use help?, August 8, 2000
  Reviewer: sasi_san from Amesbury, MA USA
For the first time I am disappointed in a WROX programming book.

The book description states it is for the "experienced developer." Which I could live with but why take 4 chapters to cover the programming fundamentals and only 1 chapter for Word fundamentals. The book was confusing in it's description of the template heirarchy; it didn't cover the ThisDocument property at all; blew through the confusing VB Editor manipulation; and then printed the Object Model in GREAT detail. Why wouldn't I just press F1 and get the context sensitive help or use the Object Browser.

I don't need a printout of the Object Model, I need to know the techniques for effectively creating Word Solutions.

Pick your audience -- is this book for VB Programmers who typically need to know the tricks of Word objects or is this for Word users who need to know how to program. If the books aim was to satisfy both it fell way short because for me it did neither.

By the way -- 10 of 14 VB6 books on my shelf are by WROX, I truly do love the books they publish which is why I was deeply disappointed when I received this book.


2 out of 5 stars Too light for serious development, May 26, 2000
  Reviewer: Michael Frank from Pennsylvania, USA
This book didn't go into nearly the depth for Word that I needed. The first 4 chapters (~100 pages) were too basic - covering VBA fundamentals (not Word 2000 specific). Chapter 8 & 9 discussed linking to databases which was a useful but any inter-Office programmng book would do better. The last 250 pages is strictly a listing of the object models for Word and ADO (with very little elaboration).

It contains very few programming tricks; a few programming practice recommendations; medium amount of simple examples; no troubleshooting or common mistakes section.

This book is OK for someone that doesn't like to use the object browser & help file because it doesn't give you much more than that.

Learn Word 2000 VBA Document Automation

5 out of 5 stars very GOOD - content, October 11, 2000
  Reviewer: bobdaner (see more about me) from At my computer!
I bought this book for one reason: the author wrote an article last year describing run time controls for Microsoft Office Developer, but he left me hanging for this . . . trapping the events for run time controls. He delivered.

This book describes many very clever VBA concepts. It covers creating VBA pop-up menus (i didn't think that could even be done), and using VBA/Word with xml, dhtml, etc... At some times he gets a bit theory driven, but it seems to balance out well with all the projects. This book really covers using VBA for all Office applications, and using Word with them.

The downfalls - no color images, not very good for total beginners (introductory material is adequate, but I wouldn't want to begin with this), and some of the explanations could be lengthier. (also, coverage of doc management is somewhat thin)

Finally, there are other Word books, other VBA books, but there are no other 'document automation' books - that makes it worth it alone.

(he also dissects the Melissa virus in a late chapter)

3 out of 5 stars Well written book but no real good examples, October 4, 2002
  Reviewer: Sasha P. Mathew from Deep River, ON Canada
Well, I like many of the other people writing reviews here bought this book because frankly there are not a lot of Word VBA book out in the market. I have to say first that the way the book is organized and written was well done. That's why I gave 3 stars. However, I would've liked to have seen more descriptions on many of the methods the book glosses over. In short, it's a good reference but really the help file is just as good.
4 out of 5 stars Good Book - Bad Title, November 6, 2001
  Reviewer: A reader from Boston
Alright, there isn't a 3.5 and I feel like being nice. I agree with all of the reviews on this page in some way.

If you are looking for a 'WORD' book, look elsewhere, this book is for programmers.

That said, if you are looking for a 'VBA' book, this isn't a good one either - unless you are looking for advanced-specific project information.

What the book covers it covers very well. Like some others, I bought it thinking it might cover something different, but.... There are some very ingenious code snippets in here, and if you're deep into Word, you might find some answers here.

This book just tries to be too advanced. If it were longer and covered some of the basics it could be great. Instead, they chose to offer a book for people who were already VBA/Word experts. It's well worth the money if this is what you are looking for.

Last modified: March 12, 2019