View Full Version : MS Word Utilities for Writers

Roger J Carlson
04-27-2005, 10:28 PM
I have been given permission by Jenna, our kind and generous hostess, to post this on multiple boards. I hope you don't mind.

I've written several little programs in Microsoft Word to do some things that Word does not do:

Word Frequency Counter:

This program counts all instances of each word in a document. This can be useful to determine if you are using some words too frequently. In addition, it also tracks the shortest distance (in words) between any two instances of a word. (For instance, "I said that he said" would return 3. This can help determine if you are using words in too close proximity.

Phrase Frequency Counter:

This program is similar to the Word Frequency Counter, but it counts only those phrases you specify. If you have a tendancy to use cliches or over-worked phrases, this can help identify them.

Passive Word Highlighter:

This program goes through an entire document and changes the color of passive, boring, or cliche words and phrases. For instance, it will replace every instance of "was" with "was" (formatted in red). You control which words it checks for and the color it assigns.

I originally posted these in the Writing Novels board, but I thought they might be useful to others as well. The links above connect to those discussions if you want to read more about them.

These programs are entirely free and you can download them from my website, here:


I hope you find them useful. I would be glad for any comments or suggestions. I'd particularly like to know if you have any problems.

BTW, all of the programs work externally, that is they open a separate document file and work on that. I am currently working on a Master Suite of utilities that you can import into Word itself and use on your currently active document. I'll let you know when it's ready.

Zoe King
04-28-2005, 07:48 PM
These sound excellent, Roger. I used First Draft for most of my outlines and drafts, (it's far less 'cumbersome' than Word) and that includes a 'word instances' finder, but not the others you've come up with.



Roger J Carlson
05-11-2005, 07:32 PM
We are constantly being told to get rid of as many adverbs as possible from our writing. I've added two new utilities that can help:

Adverb Eliminator
It works like this:

Make a copy of your file
Turn on Track Changes (MS Word of course)
Check every word to see if it ends in ly
Check word against an Exclude List
If not in Exclude List, mark word for deletion
When done, you can go back and scroll through the deletions and either accept or reject it.
Adverb Highlighter
For those who don't use (or are afraid of) Track Changes, I also wrote the which does the same thing but just highlights the adverbs instead.

You can find them here:

Roger J Carlson
05-16-2005, 06:00 PM
I've added one more utility: the Preposition Highlighter. This program checks the number of prepositions in a sentence and a paragraph and highlights those above a pre-defined threshold. I just bundled it into my standard package which gives the user the ability to choose threshold and color.

It can be useful for finding excessive prepositional phases.

It's on my website here:

05-16-2005, 07:41 PM
Roger, you have been busy! These are terrific programs. Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Pronoun highlighter?
Fragment eliminator?

I will stay tuned! ;)

Roger J Carlson
05-16-2005, 08:06 PM
I suppose I could write one that changed every gender specific pronoun to "shesh" or "hearse". :)

Actually, I'm about out of ideas. Except, of course, to bundle them to be used from within your current document rather than working outside of it.

05-22-2005, 10:10 PM
I have downloaded them all too :hooray: AMAZING stuff, thank you :)

05-23-2005, 01:06 AM
Ok I down loaded them all... but I must warn ya... I am not savy on computters...or with spelling...
:Hammer: this is me on a computer.... and I will give your programs a try.... but I am warning ya..... they might not work for me on my computer...

06-02-2005, 01:22 AM
I HAVE DOWNLOADED THEM.... I sent you a message........................................ HELPPPPPPPPPPPPP
:Ssh: :faint: :faint: :faint: :faint: :faint: :Headbang: :Headbang: :Headbang: :Headbang: :Headbang: :Headbang: :Headbang:

06-02-2005, 09:17 PM
Thanks Roger,

Seems like some cool features. I will also download them. Much Appreciated!

06-03-2005, 06:30 PM
:Clap: :kiss: :hooray: :LilLove: :LilLove: :LilLove: :LilLove: :TheWave: :PartySmil :PartySmil :PartySmil :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :Hug2: :Cake: :Cake: :heart: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss:

Roger J Carlson
06-04-2005, 12:51 AM
:Clap: :kiss: :hooray: :LilLove: :LilLove: :LilLove: :LilLove: :TheWave: :PartySmil :PartySmil :PartySmil :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :snoopy: :Hug2: :Cake: :Cake: :heart: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss: :kiss:
THANK YOU.... IT WORKED.... AND I LOVE IT. Wow! That's the most emoticons I've ever received. You're very welcome.

06-04-2005, 03:17 AM
Wow! That's the most emoticons I've ever received. You're very welcome.
:kiss: Hey when I get excited I get excited.......

06-08-2005, 03:11 PM
Thanks for sharing with us!