Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people, just like you, are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions

Getting rid of Word control characters before writing text to another application

Posted on 2004-08-08
Last Modified: 2010-05-19
I'm developing a script for work using VBA that reads information from a MS Word Document, uses Split to create an array, then writes the contents of the array into an Excel file. The Word document is  a highly formatted Form and I need the data to be placed in Excel so that it is delimited by the text in each section (one cell per line of text, basically).

Everything is almost great using Chr(13) as my Split delimiter character, this splits the text correctly but I still get some  looking characters outputted to the Excel sheet. I want to suppress these  control characters but have so far had no success in doing it. I need the characters to be gone so that I can next use ADODB to create a recordset from the Excel sheet and I only want text in the recordset. I've marched through every ASCII charachter from 0 to 255 with no success. How do I get rid of the remaining  control characters before they go into the array or before they go into the Excel sheet?

Here is an example of the output.....     PUT IN  VERIFIED                            PUT IN  VERIFIED                           PUT IN VERIFIED                              PUT IN  VERIFIED
                                 BY          BY                                        BY        BY                                       BY         BY                                         BY          BY





Question by:philTN
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 11748387
Read the data back from Excel and use Asc() function to find out which character is that


Expert Comment

ID: 11749292
(what he said)...and then use strData = Replace(strData, Chr(x), "")


Author Comment

ID: 11798719
Tried that but it won't return an ASC code for the character. Instead it spits out the first two codes (horizontal tab and space), then returns an error saying "invalid procedure or argument" when it encounters one of the square looking characters.

By saving to a text file using FSO and splitting the array on Chr(13), I've been able to figure out that the characters in question seem to be placeholders for blank cells within the original Word table. The table is composed of 3 columns, only one of which currently contains data. Although there is no data or extraneous spaces in the other two cells, these square looking characters get written to the text file and match up exactly with where there are blank cells in the table. The current output to the text file looks like this:


It also seems to be saving a delimiter of sort  between tables(i have 4 tables across with 3 columns each).
Announcing the Most Valuable Experts of 2016

MVEs are more concerned with the satisfaction of those they help than with the considerable points they can earn. They are the types of people you feel privileged to call colleagues. Join us in honoring this amazing group of Experts.


Author Comment

ID: 11801658
I can further clarify after turning on the formatting marks in the original Word 2000 document that the characters are the paragraph marks. These marks are not eliminated by the Split command. So how do I remove them either before or after saving to Excel or plain text? I've already tried Trim and Replace but that was because i thought they wre rtf codes. All i got in return was that it was a type mismatch for "\" or"{".

Expert Comment

ID: 11804787
Paragraph marks... maybe Chr(10) and Chr(13)?


strData = Replace(strData, Chr$(10), "")
strData = Replace(strData, Chr$(13), "")


Author Comment

ID: 12178430
Thanks, I tried that but it still didn't work. When I tried reading in the ASCII code for the character it kept telling me (13) but it wouldn't Replace it.

I found what I was looking for through further research. By calling Excel's CLEAN function from VB I was able to make another copy of the seadsheet with all non-printing characters deleted, with one line of code. Thanks again to both of you for your help.


Expert Comment

ID: 12183246
Ah, ok. Glad you got it fixed :)


Accepted Solution

modulo earned 0 total points
ID: 12503580
PAQed, with points refunded (75)

Community Support Moderator

Featured Post

Free Tool: Subnet Calculator

The subnet calculator helps you design networks by taking an IP address and network mask and returning information such as network, broadcast address, and host range.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Introduction In a recent article (http://www.experts-exchange.com/A_7811-A-Better-Concatenate-Function.html) for the Excel community, I showed an improved version of the Excel Concatenate() function.  While writing that article I realized that no o…
Article by: Martin
Here are a few simple, working, games that you can use as-is or as the basis for your own games. Tic-Tac-Toe This is one of the simplest of all games.   The game allows for a choice of who goes first and keeps track of the number of wins for…
Get people started with the process of using Access VBA to control Outlook using automation, Microsoft Access can control other applications. An example is the ability to programmatically talk to Microsoft Outlook. Using automation, an Access applic…
This lesson covers basic error handling code in Microsoft Excel using VBA. This is the first lesson in a 3-part series that uses code to loop through an Excel spreadsheet in VBA and then fix errors, taking advantage of error handling code. This l…

809 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question