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Searching for a distinct word with VBA in excel 2010

Posted on 2013-11-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-25
I need to construct a VBA statement to find a word (say "the" or "and") in a sentence or sentences in a cell.  But I do not want to find the character string.  So for instance it would not find "brand" .  Needs to recognize the singular word.
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Question by:HyperBPP
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5 Comments
 
LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:Martin Liss
ID: 39669326
An example

        Set rngCustomer = .Find(What:="Vertical", LookIn:=xlValues, LookAt:=xlWhole, After:=ActiveCell, _
                           SearchOrder:=xlByRows, SearchDirection:=xlNext, MatchCase:=False, SearchFormat:=False)
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LVL 45

Expert Comment

by:Martin Liss
ID: 39669339
Or more fully
    With ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Cells
        Set rngCustomer = .Find(What:="Vertical", LookIn:=xlValues, LookAt:=xlWhole, After:=ActiveCell, _
                           SearchOrder:=xlByRows, SearchDirection:=xlNext, MatchCase:=False, SearchFormat:=False)
    End With

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Accepted Solution

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Patrick Matthews earned 500 total points
ID: 39671976
Using LookAt:=xlWhole means that you are matching the entire contents of the cell, and not a substring in the cell, so I do not think that is what you want :)

If the intent is to interrogate a single cell and say whether or not the desired word is in that cell, I would use Regular Expressions, as described in my article here.

1) Add this function to a new, regular VBA module:

Function RegExpFind(LookIn As String, PatternStr As String, Optional Pos, _
    Optional MatchCase As Boolean = True, Optional ReturnType As Long = 0, _
    Optional MultiLine As Boolean = False)
    
    ' Function written by Patrick G. Matthews.  You may use and distribute this code freely,
    ' as long as you properly credit and attribute authorship and the URL of where you
    ' found the code
    
    ' This function relies on the VBScript version of Regular Expressions, and thus some of
    ' the functionality available in Perl and/or .Net may not be available.  The full extent
    ' of what functionality will be available on any given computer is based on which version
    ' of the VBScript runtime is installed on that computer
    
    ' This function uses Regular Expressions to parse a string (LookIn), and return matches to a
    ' pattern (PatternStr).  Use Pos to indicate which match you want:
    ' Pos omitted               : function returns a zero-based array of all matches
    ' Pos = 1                   : the first match
    ' Pos = 2                   : the second match
    ' Pos = <positive integer>  : the Nth match
    ' Pos = 0                   : the last match
    ' Pos = -1                  : the last match
    ' Pos = -2                  : the 2nd to last match
    ' Pos = <negative integer>  : the Nth to last match
    ' If Pos is non-numeric, or if the absolute value of Pos is greater than the number of
    ' matches, the function returns an empty string.  If no match is found, the function returns
    ' an empty string.  (Earlier versions of this code used zero for the last match; this is
    ' retained for backward compatibility)
    
    ' If MatchCase is omitted or True (default for RegExp) then the Pattern must match case (and
    ' thus you may have to use [a-zA-Z] instead of just [a-z] or [A-Z]).
    
    ' ReturnType indicates what information you want to return:
    ' ReturnType = 0            : the matched values
    ' ReturnType = 1            : the starting character positions for the matched values
    ' ReturnType = 2            : the lengths of the matched values
    
    ' If you use this function in Excel, you can use range references for any of the arguments.
    ' If you use this in Excel and return the full array, make sure to set up the formula as an
    ' array formula.  If you need the array formula to go down a column, use TRANSPOSE()
    
    ' Note: RegExp counts the character positions for the Match.FirstIndex property as starting
    ' at zero.  Since VB6 and VBA has strings starting at position 1, I have added one to make
    ' the character positions conform to VBA/VB6 expectations
    
    ' Normally as an object variable I would set the RegX variable to Nothing; however, in cases
    ' where a large number of calls to this function are made, making RegX a static variable that
    ' preserves its state in between calls significantly improves performance
    
    Static RegX As Object
    Dim TheMatches As Object
    Dim Answer()
    Dim Counter As Long
    
    ' Evaluate Pos.  If it is there, it must be numeric and converted to Long
    
    If Not IsMissing(Pos) Then
        If Not IsNumeric(Pos) Then
            RegExpFind = ""
            Exit Function
        Else
            Pos = CLng(Pos)
        End If
    End If
    
    ' Evaluate ReturnType
    
    If ReturnType < 0 Or ReturnType > 2 Then
        RegExpFind = ""
        Exit Function
    End If
    
    ' Create instance of RegExp object if needed, and set properties
    
    If RegX Is Nothing Then Set RegX = CreateObject("VBScript.RegExp")
    With RegX
        .Pattern = PatternStr
        .Global = True
        .IgnoreCase = Not MatchCase
        .MultiLine = MultiLine
    End With
        
    ' Test to see if there are any matches
    
    If RegX.Test(LookIn) Then
        
        ' Run RegExp to get the matches, which are returned as a zero-based collection
        
        Set TheMatches = RegX.Execute(LookIn)
        
        ' Test to see if Pos is negative, which indicates the user wants the Nth to last
        ' match.  If it is, then based on the number of matches convert Pos to a positive
        ' number, or zero for the last match
        
        If Not IsMissing(Pos) Then
            If Pos < 0 Then
                If Pos = -1 Then
                    Pos = 0
                Else
                    
                    ' If Abs(Pos) > number of matches, then the Nth to last match does not
                    ' exist.  Return a zero-length string
                    
                    If Abs(Pos) <= TheMatches.Count Then
                        Pos = TheMatches.Count + Pos + 1
                    Else
                        RegExpFind = ""
                        GoTo Cleanup
                    End If
                End If
            End If
        End If
        
        ' If Pos is missing, user wants array of all matches.  Build it and assign it as the
        ' function's return value
        
        If IsMissing(Pos) Then
            ReDim Answer(0 To TheMatches.Count - 1)
            For Counter = 0 To UBound(Answer)
                Select Case ReturnType
                    Case 0: Answer(Counter) = TheMatches(Counter)
                    Case 1: Answer(Counter) = TheMatches(Counter).FirstIndex + 1
                    Case 2: Answer(Counter) = TheMatches(Counter).Length
                End Select
            Next
            RegExpFind = Answer
        
        ' User wanted the Nth match (or last match, if Pos = 0).  Get the Nth value, if possible
        
        Else
            Select Case Pos
                Case 0                          ' Last match
                    Select Case ReturnType
                        Case 0: RegExpFind = TheMatches(TheMatches.Count - 1)
                        Case 1: RegExpFind = TheMatches(TheMatches.Count - 1).FirstIndex + 1
                        Case 2: RegExpFind = TheMatches(TheMatches.Count - 1).Length
                    End Select
                Case 1 To TheMatches.Count      ' Nth match
                    Select Case ReturnType
                        Case 0: RegExpFind = TheMatches(Pos - 1)
                        Case 1: RegExpFind = TheMatches(Pos - 1).FirstIndex + 1
                        Case 2: RegExpFind = TheMatches(Pos - 1).Length
                    End Select
                Case Else                       ' Invalid item number
                    RegExpFind = ""
            End Select
        End If
    
    ' If there are no matches, return empty string
    
    Else
        RegExpFind = ""
    End If
    
Cleanup:
    ' Release object variables
    
    Set TheMatches = Nothing
    
End Function

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2) Use it in a formula like this:

=RegExpFind(A1,"\band\b",1,FALSE)<>""

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That looks for the word "and".  The \b token is a word boundary, so by wrapping and in the \b, I am specifying a word match.  Note that the FALSE indicates that this is NOT case sensitive, and thus matches upper and lower case.

If you want to know if either "the" or "and" appears...

=RegExpFind(A1,"\band\b",1,FALSE)&RegExpFind(A1,"\bthe\b",1,FALSE)<>""

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Both formulae above return TRUE if the word appears in A1, and FALSE if not.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Rob Henson
ID: 39674461
Assuming you are looking for the whole word, would the word not have a space before and after?

Therefore, looking for " and " would only find the word "and" with a space before and after.

If you omit the space at the end it would also find words beginning with "and" so would find "android" or using " the" would also find "theme".

Thanks
Rob H
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Rob Henson
ID: 39674491
Might need two searches, search with space at front would not find the required value if it is the first word in the cell becuase it won't have a space before it.

Omitting the leading space would find words ending with required search eg "and " would also find "England".

Example:

On Error Resume Next
Cells.Find(What:=" consumption ", After:=ActiveCell, LookIn:=xlFormulas, _
        LookAt:=xlPart, SearchOrder:=xlByRows, SearchDirection:=xlNext, _
        MatchCase:=False, SearchFormat:=False).Activate
Cells.Find(What:="consumption ", After:=ActiveCell, LookIn:=xlFormulas, _
        LookAt:=xlPart, SearchOrder:=xlByRows, SearchDirection:=xlNext, _
        MatchCase:=False, SearchFormat:=False).Activate

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The "What" in the Find statement can be replaced with a variable:

SearchStrg1 = " "&Strg&" "
SearchStrg2 = Strg&" "

On Error Resume Next
Cells.Find(What:=SearchStrg1, After:=ActiveCell, LookIn:=xlFormulas, _
        LookAt:=xlPart, SearchOrder:=xlByRows, SearchDirection:=xlNext, _
        MatchCase:=False, SearchFormat:=False).Activate
Cells.Find(What:=SearchStrg2, After:=ActiveCell, LookIn:=xlFormulas, _
        LookAt:=xlPart, SearchOrder:=xlByRows, SearchDirection:=xlNext, _
        MatchCase:=False, SearchFormat:=False).Activate

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Thanks
Rob H
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