My question

How can get the currently selected text in Microsoft Outlook 2007

  • in an open message window
  • or in the currently selected message in the preview pane

and copy it into the clipboard?

I am using Microsoft Outlook 2007.

What I already tried

I know that I can use DataObjects to put text into the clipboard or get text from the clipboard.

The difficulty is to get the currently selected text

I tried the following commands:

  • Outlook.copy
  • Outlook.selection.copy
  • Outlook.activeexplorer.selection.item(1). ...
    in many variations, but with no success.

I found some sources stating that it would not be possible to get the currently selected text in Outlook via VBA but I think it must at least be possible to invoke a Ctrl-C (copy) command and then use the content of the clipboard.

I also stumbled upon some solutions with the Inspector as described here, but I got an error message. Maybe it is because I forgot to reference the "MS Word Object Library" - I'll try that on Monday.

  • 1
    What have you tried already? What were the results? Where are you getting stuck exactly? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 1 '14 at 16:42
  • 1
    Thank you for your comment - sorry! I was really under pressure and in a hurry, but that's not the right and polite way to ask a question here. I've edited my question and would be thankful for removing the downvote. Thanks as well for your detailed reply - I'll try that out on Monday, when I have access to the computer again. – MostlyHarmless Aug 1 '14 at 19:01

Since Outlook uses Word (if installed) as its editor, it's a bit of a pain to get to get it. :)

You have to reference the Word application, then the Word document, then the selection.

For the following code to work in Outlook you need to add a Reference (VBA Editor -> Tools -> References) to the "Microsoft Word Object Library", and one to the "Microsoft Forms Object Library", so that we can actually copy the text the system clipboard.

Note: For me, in Office 2013, the MS Forms object wasn't in the list, so I just added a UserForm to the VBA project, which added the reference automatically, and then just deleted the form. The reference stuck.

Anyhow I dug around many sources and here's some code I stuck together that will copy the highlighted text to the clipboard, with some basic error checking (tested in Outlook 2013):

Public Sub CopyTextToClipBoard()

    Dim objItem As Object
    Dim objInsp As Outlook.Inspector

    Dim objWord As Word.Application
    Dim objDoc As Word.Document
    Dim objSel As Word.Selection
    On Error Resume Next

    ' Reference the current Outlook item
    Set objItem = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
    If Not objItem Is Nothing Then
        If objItem.Class = olMail Then
            Set objInsp = objItem.GetInspector
            If objInsp.EditorType = olEditorWord Then
                Set objDoc = objInsp.WordEditor
                Set objWord = objDoc.Application
                Set objSel = objWord.Selection

                On Error GoTo NotText
                With New MSForms.DataObject
                    .SetText objSel.Text
                End With
                On Error Resume Next       

            End If
        End If
    End If

    Set objItem = Nothing
    Set objWord = Nothing
    Set objSel = Nothing
    Set objInsp = Nothing

    If Err <> 0 Then
        MsgBox "Data on clipboard is not text."
    End If

End Sub
  • 1
    thanks, it works fine - even if the text is selected in the preview pane (Outlook 2007)! (Sorry for my late feedback) – MostlyHarmless Apr 17 '15 at 15:59

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