How to Create Word Documents from Excel using VBA and Fit Strings into Single Lines

On my day job, I was tasked to add a button to an Excel spreadsheet that converts that spreadsheet into a Word file, for improved formatting and aesthetics. This is a pretty straightforward task:

  1. Add a reference to the Microsoft Word Object Library (Tools → References) to get access to the wd-constants
  2. It’s easiest to access things in table cells, so create a Word template that uses tables wherever you want your macro to copy something over from the Excel file.
  3. Write your code around the following skeleton code:
Set objWord = CreateObject("Word.Application") ' Create Word object
Set objDoc = objWord.Documents.Add(Template:=ActiveWorkbook.Path & "\template.dotx") ' Open new document from given template
Set objTable = objDoc.Tables(1) ' Get reference to first table in template
objTable.Cell(1, 1).Range.Text = Cells(1, 1).Text ' Copy cell at row 1, column 1 in current Excel sheet to row 1, column 1 in first table in Word file
' Save file (we don't care about the .docx and just want a .pdf)
FileName = Application.GetSaveAsFilename(fileFilter:="PDF files (*.pdf), *.pdf") ' Note that this is Excel's dialog, but that doesn't matter, as we only need the user to enter a file name/select a file
objDoc.SaveAs2 save_name, wdFormatPDF
objWord.Quit wdDoNotSaveChanges
ActiveWorkbook.FollowHyperlink save_name

In case you need backwards compatibility with older versions of Office, add checks like the following before specifying a template or saving as a PDF file:

If (Application.Version > 12) Then
    ' ...
    ' ...
End If

For older versions of Office, you will need a PDF printer to create PDFs. You can display the print dialog box by doing:


If, unlike me, you do want to display the Word document, get rid of the objWord.Quit line (and perhaps the lines related to saving to PDF) and do the following:

objWord.Visible = True

That’s that, and now we come to the actually interesting part. The part I’ve alluded to in the title of this post. Say you have a table in your Word template that gets populated with a person’s name and email address. You’ve carefully set your column widths to sane values, and don’t want them to change, so you’ve got the “Automatically resize to fit contents” option (Table Properties → Table → Options) turned off. What happens when you get a long name or email address? The name or email address gets split somewhere, and now you’ve got two lines. Ugly! You’ve tried the “Fit text” option (Table Properties → Cell → Options) and felt sorely disappointed. What do we do? Perhaps you’ve tried to access the row’s Height property, and quickly realized that it’s not very useful, as you either get a value of 9999,  or 12 if you’ve changed the height policy, along with a table row that doesn’t look like before. I am sure there are other ways to solve this problem, but this is what I did:

n_lines_before = objDoc.ComputeStatistics(wdStatisticLines) ' Get total number of lines in document
.Cell(3, 4).Range.Text = Cells(26, "AJ").Text
n_lines_after = objDoc.ComputeStatistics(wdStatisticLines) ' Get total number of lines in document, again
Do While (n_lines_after > n_lines_before) ' If the data didn't fit in our cell, the total number of lines will have increased
    .Cell(3, 4).Range.Font.Size = .Cell(3, 4).Range.Font.Size - 1 ' Make the font size a little smaller until the total number of lines returns to being the same as before again
    n_lines_after = objDoc.ComputeStatistics(wdStatisticLines)

This post is not exactly related to Qiqitori, but I hope it’s of some use to someone, somewhere! It certainly serves as documentation for the code I’ve written, if anything. If you have any questions or better ways of doing things, feel free to leave a comment.