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How to search and replace across multiple files in word?

If you have several dozen word files which contain the same content (such as Header, footer, some special words or number), and you need to replace the same content across those documents in Word. How would it be easier for you to get it done quickly? Certainly, you can open those files one by one to replace the same content, but it will be time-consuming and troublesome. This tutorial will show you a tricky way to replace same content within multiple documents in Word at once.

Find and replace texts across multiple word documents at the same time with VBA code

Combine/merge multiple documents into one easily:

The Merge Documents utility of Kutools for Word can help you to combine multiple documents into one quickly. You just need to:

  • Select the documents you will combine into one;
  • Specify the break between each combined document;
  • Start merging. See screenshot:

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Find and replace texts across multiple word documents at the same time with VBA code

1. Press Alt + F11 to open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

2. In the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window, click InsertModule, then copy  the following VBA code into the Module window.

VBA Code: Searching and replacing same content across multiple documents at one time

Sub CommandButton1_Click()
'Updated by Extendoffice 20180625
Dim xFileDialog As FileDialog, GetStr(1 To 100) As String '100 files is the maximum applying this code
Dim xFindStr As String
Dim xReplaceStr As String
Dim xDoc As Document
On Error Resume Next
Set xFileDialog = Application.FileDialog(msoFileDialogFilePicker)
With xFileDialog
    .Filters.Add "All WORD File ", "*.docx", 1
    .AllowMultiSelect = True
    i = 1
    If .Show = -1 Then
        For Each stiSelectedItem In .SelectedItems
            GetStr(i) = stiSelectedItem
            i = i + 1
        i = i - 1
    End If
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    xFindStr = InputBox("Find what:", "Kutools for Word", xFindStr)
    xReplaceStr = InputBox("Replace with:", "Kutools for Word", xReplaceStr)
    For j = 1 To i Step 1
        Set xDoc = Documents.Open(FileName:=GetStr(j), Visible:=True)
        With Selection.Find
            .Text = xFindStr  'Find What
            .Replacement.Text = xReplaceStr  'Replace With
            .Forward = True
            .Wrap = wdFindAsk
            .Format = False
            .MatchCase = False
            .MatchWholeWord = False
            .MatchByte = True
            .MatchWildcards = False
            .MatchSoundsLike = False
            .MatchAllWordForms = False
        End With
        Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
        Application.Run macroname:="NEWMACROS"
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End With
MsgBox "Operation end, please view", vbInformation
End Sub

3. Press the F5 key to run the code.

4. In the opening Browse window, please find and select the documents you will find and replace text inside, and then click the OK button. See screenshot:

5. In the first Kutools for Word dialog box, enter the text you will find across documents into the Find what box, and then click the OK button.

6. In the second Kutools for Word dialog box, enter the text you will replace with, and click the OK button.

8. Click the OK button in the next Microsoft Word dialog box to finish the find and replace.

In this case, all words "Word" in selected documents are replaced with "Excel" at the same time.

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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    James R · 6 years ago
    Could this VBA technique be adapted to work for Publisher files? For example by changing *.docx to *.pub ?
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Patrick · 6 years ago
    When you run the macro, the "Open" window will open. Navigate to the folder that contains the files you need to make the change to, then click once on the first one, then, while holding down the "Ctrl" key, click on the other files also requiring the find/replace. If all files in the folder need the action, just press the "Ctrl" and "A" keys. Then click on "Open" or press the "Enter" key, and the macro will begin.

    I should warn you, as I've performed this dozens of times at work: The macro will result in the changes being made only to the *body* of the Word document; headers, footers, and title text/alt-text will be excluded. If you have text in the aforementioned portions that needs replacing, you will have to perform a standard find/replace across individual documents.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Alison Pepper · 6 years ago
    Yes I have the same question as i think this would be useful but want to tell it to only look in certain folders.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Bobette · 6 years ago
    Will it ask where the documents in question are located? Or do all the documents need to be open?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      PatrickRsGhost · 5 years ago
      When you run it, by default it will open up the "Open File" dialogue window to "My Documents". Navigate to the folder that contains the Word files you wish to make the changes to. You can press "Ctrl" + "A" to select all files, or hold down the "Ctrl" key while selecting certain files. Click on "Open" or press "Enter" and watch the magic happen.