Posts Tagged ‘MS-Word’

Unicode conversion keyboard shortcut in Microsoft Word

A visitor asked me about the whereabouts of the uniqoder website that I recommended here – I am afraid I have lost track. But if you have Microsoft Word, at least you can always easily type Unicode using the conversion ALT-X keyboard shortcutword-unicode-alt-x

Categories: Writing Tags: ,

Inserting Word Building Blocks from Template using Ribbon or QAT

Either insert from Ribbon / Insert / Quickparts: image

Or for extra speed and convenience, you can have your template store access to your building from the Quick Access Toolbar: image

Demo video is here.

PowerShell script to save all .pdf’s as .docx in and underneath a folder failing on Word 2016, working on Word 2010.

  1. Problem: Word 2016 shows erratic behavior when trying to save (admittedly: complex) .PDF as .DOCX – whether
    1. using automation
      1. “The object invoked has disconnected from its clients. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80010108  (RPC_E_DISCONNECTED))”
      2. “The RPC server is unavailable. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x800706BA)”
    2. or trying manually.
      1. “There is a problem saving the file.”
      2. “A file error has occurred.”
      3. Or Word crashes.
  2. Workaround: My age-old Word 2010 installation on Windows Vista with PowerShell 2 (gasp! Smiley) manages this automation script (inspired by The Scripting Guy) just fine:
# Acquire a list of DOCX files in a folder
$Files = GET-CHILDITEM -include *.pdf -exclude *_converted.pdf -recurse -path 'G:\bookz\office\excel' # 'G:\bookz\lang\vba' # 'G:\bookz\office\access' # 
Foreach ($File in $Files) {
        write-host "Trying  " $File.fullname 
        # open a Word document, filename from the directory
        write-host "Opening " $File.fullname ". RESULT=" + $?
        # Swap out PDF with DOCX in the Filename
        $Name=($File.Fullname).replace("pdf",“docx”) # $Name=($Doc1.Fullname).replace("pdf",“docx”)
        # Save this File as a PDF in Word 2010/2013 - hm, and 2016 fails? 
        $Doc1.saveas([ref] $Name, [ref] 16) # see WdSaveFormat enumeration : 16 is word default, 
        $ErrorMessage = $_.Exception.Message
        $FailedItem = $_.Exception.ItemName
        write-host "Caught error saving " $FailedItem ". Msg: " $ErrorMessage 
    finally {
        [GC]::Collect() # watch me trying a number of things to get this to work with Word 2016... 🙂
        move-item -path $file.FullName -destination ($file.Directory.ToString() + "\" + $file.BaseName + "_converted" + $file.Extension)


How to easily rearrange your sections via the headings in MS-Word’s Navigation Pane

  1. Short answer Show Navigation (from ribbon ./ View), then Drag&drop/
  2. word-navigation-pane-drag-headings
  3. Maybe obvious, but had escaped me so far – I thought such ease would only come only with outline view  – what a great feature!

How to ease editing work in MS-Word by automating search/replace operations

  1. If you frequently have to edit documents according to a large number of editorial rules and regulations
  2. and if you can partially automate these edit operations  (or at least highlight suspicious passages for human review) with Word’s search/replace,
  3. I can recommend an add-in that can automate even the repeated search/replace operations (like the 57 in the video below)
  4. and even help you manage your search/replace strings and regular expressions in a spreadsheet which it can load from:
  5. Greg Maxey’s VBA Find & Replace Word Add-in. See it in action (click for full size):
  6. vbareplace
  7. Two Three Caveats: :
    1. At this point, I cannot get the add-in to work only in Word 2010. Even if I lower Macro security and allow programmatic access to the VBA project, when trying to launch the add-in from the ribbon, Word 2013 complains: “The macro cannot be found or has been disabled due to your macro security settings”:image.
    2. The automation is only as good as your underlying search/replace operations. (Hint: “Some people, when confronted with a problem, think ‘I know, I’ll use regular expressions.’ Now they have two problems.”)
    3. I think I will refrain from search/replace during “Tracking changes” – as in the video – , and rather use “Compare documents” after the replace operations – too many quirks otherwise…

Fun with .docx to .html transforms by means of HtmlConverter from PowerTools for Open XML

  1. The transform is FOSS and platform-independent:
    1. It neither requires Office nor Windows (The OpenXML SDK runs on Linux via Mono on the server.
    2. However, the most recent installment of Powertools for OpenXML, a high-level API to the OpenXML SDK, comes with a PowerShell interface (benefit: no Visual studio requirement).
  2. Valuable features of the transform,  among many other things, are:
    1. HtmlConverter is able to translate MS-Word styles into CSS (insofar needed – my code style has “No proofing” set, however, this cannot be implemented on the WWW), so the layout is preserved as designed, but w/o need for inline formatting: {
            font-family: Calibri;
            font-size: 11pt;
            font-style: italic;
            font-weight: bold;
            margin: 0in;
            padding: 0in;
        } {
            color: #FFFFFF;
            background: #000000;
            font-family: Consolas;
            font-size: 10pt;
            font-weight: normal;
            margin: 0in;
            padding: 0in;
     <h3 dir="ltr" class="pt-000040">
            <span class="pt-000041">2.2.1</span><span class="pt-000042"><span class="pt-000043"> </span></span><span class="pt-Heading2Char"><b>References</b></span>

          <p dir="ltr" class="pt-BodyText">
            <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000003"><br />
            ‎</span><span class="pt-000000"> </span>

          <h1 dir="ltr" class="pt-000006">
            <span class="pt-000007"><b>3</b></span><span class="pt-000008"><b><span class="pt-000009"> </span></b></span><span class="pt-Heading1Char"><b>Introduction</b></span>

          <h2 dir="ltr" class="pt-000018">
            <span class="pt-000019">3.1</span><span class="pt-000020"><span class="pt-000021"> </span></span><span class="pt-Heading2Char"><b>Purpose of Document</b></span>
    1. There are many more options that I have not yet tried:
            SimplifyMarkupSettings simplifyMarkupSettings = new SimplifyMarkupSettings
                RemoveComments = true,
                RemoveContentControls = true,
                RemoveEndAndFootNotes = true,
                RemoveFieldCodes = false,
                RemoveLastRenderedPageBreak = true,
                RemovePermissions = true,
                RemoveProof = true,
                RemoveRsidInfo = true,
                RemoveSmartTags = true,
                RemoveSoftHyphens = true,
                RemoveGoBackBookmark = true,
                ReplaceTabsWithSpaces = false,
            MarkupSimplifier.SimplifyMarkup(wordDoc, simplifyMarkupSettings);

            FormattingAssemblerSettings formattingAssemblerSettings = new FormattingAssemblerSettings
                RemoveStyleNamesFromParagraphAndRunProperties = false,
                ClearStyles = false,
                RestrictToSupportedLanguages = htmlConverterSettings.RestrictToSupportedLanguages,
                RestrictToSupportedNumberingFormats = htmlConverterSettings.RestrictToSupportedNumberingFormats,
                CreateHtmlConverterAnnotationAttributes = true,
                OrderElementsPerStandard = false,
                ListItemRetrieverSettings = new ListItemRetrieverSettings()
                    ListItemTextImplementations = htmlConverterSettings.ListItemImplementations,
    1. One would really wish there was a way to get such HTML cleaned up automatically (ouch!):
               <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">M</span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">anaged requirements for system integration </span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">of Center</span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006"> </span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">software </span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">with </span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">iLearning</span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006"> and with content production and management (BPD). To mitigate lack of integration of $50k LMS software investment into departmental workflow</span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">,</span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006"> </span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">developed </span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">and documented </span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006">software to automate</span>
                <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000006"> creation of 4K+ user accounts p.a., 30K+ learning documents and 100K+ interactive content paths in LMS.</span>
    1. There are also much more serious conversion errors:
      1. MS-Word displays a plain text content control and a repeating section content control within a table, containing one Combobox and one plain text content control per row, perfectly: openxml-convert-docxtohtml-error-word
      2. Convert-DocxToHtml gobbles the content completely (and so does Google Docs Preview): openxml-convert-docxtohtml-error-html The underlying HTML has just a blank table under each heading:
            <div class="pt-000001">
                <p dir="ltr" class="pt-qiCVHeading1">
                  <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000002">Profile</span>
              <div align="left">
                <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" dir="ltr" class="pt-000003" />
              <div class="pt-000001">
                <p dir="ltr" class="pt-qiCVHeading1">
                  <span class="pt-DefaultParagraphFont-000002">Technologies</span>
              <div align="left">
                <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" dir="ltr" class="pt-000003" />
      3. MS-Word shows:imageYet need to look in to the underlying XML to see whether the .docx is to blame for that…
      4. But HtmlConverter output in IE or Firefox: imageThe underlying HTML reveals that the css does not get applied in the right place:
                <td class="pt-000079">
                  <p dir="ltr" class="pt-BodyTextSmall">
                    <span class="pt-BodyTextSmallChar-000081">AD</span>
                <td colspan="2" class="pt-000079">
                  <p dir="ltr" class="pt-BodyTextSmall">
                    <span class="pt-BodyTextSmallChar-000081">Active Driector, Microsfot’s directory implementation.</span>

                <td class="pt-000086">
                  <p dir="ltr" class="pt-BodyTextSmall">
                    <span class="pt-000085"> </span>
                <td colspan="2" class="pt-000086">
                  <p dir="ltr" class="pt-BodyTextSmall">
                    <span class="pt-000085"> </span>
  1. One could imagine MS-Word acting less strictly than OpenXML PowerTools:Convert-DocxToHtml, like a web-browser’s parser tolerates and displays bad HTML. However, not only would need to be justified how MS-Word can also serve as the originating HTML WYSIWYG editor. The OpenXML PowerTools:Get-OpenXmlValidationErrors for both of the above documents does not seem to find any OpenXML errors that could explain the bad conversion (other than dozens of Sch_UndeclaredAttribute errors (Version-related? Not sure how this could be) , there is only a Pkg_PartIsNotAllowed relating to a glossary).
  • Also yet to do:
    1. When (not always!) does my page title end up as empty?
    2. Defaults to doctype xhtml, not html(5).
  • Done:
      1. Pretty-printing. The HtmlConverter output defaults to all content (not css ) on 1 line (e.g. in the example from which above code is taken, 90000chars long). For human readability, and also possibly git tracking, pretty-printing would be better. Can be enforced like so (is there a better way? cannot see a user-configurable option for the SaveOptions enumeration):
    openXml\OxPt\OxPtCmdlets\OxPtHelper.cs:var htmlString = html.ToString(SaveOptions.None); // trp: requesting pretty-printing, was:html.ToString(SaveOptions.DisableFormatting);

Customized Quick Access Toolbar


Easing access to some important tools for serious  writing – and configuration that can not be done in a template,but is per machine…

Fun with Zotero inserting citations and bibliographies

  1. If you can install Zotero’s word processor add-ins (for LibreOffice Writer or MS-Word).:
      1. Here are the self-explanatory tool tips of the command buttons for the MS-Word add-in: zotero-ribbon-addins-command-buttons-tooltips
      2. Here is the add-in in action, inserting first one, than multiple citations, followed by generation of a bibliography:


  2. If you cannot, you can still use the “create bibliography from items” of Zotero (which itself can be run under portable  Firefox from a USB stick – no install needed at all). Here is a brief example and insert those into your writing; zotero-create-bibliography-from-item2clipboard2word