# KSotD (Word): (Un-)Group Objects -- Ctrl+Alt(+Shift)+G

I put a lot of figures, charts, photos, etc. in the various reports and proposals and whatnot that I write for work. Pagecount often isn’t an issue for reports, so there I can add figures inline with text and it really doesn’t matter if there’s a lot of whitespace hovering around. However, the page limit usually is pretty low and extremely strict for proposals. Thus, using floating figures with relatively tight text wrapping is a must.

Now… figures have legends, and efficient placement of figure-plus-legend on the page means grouping the figure with its legend. As well, sometimes figures are a composite of multiple Word Shape objects and thus those figure components must also be grouped. It’s not that bad to hit the grouping commands by mouse (one right- and two left-clicks), and there are old-style keyboard shortcuts that do work (e.g., -G-G to group objects). However, being me, I want single keystrokes for both group and ungroup.

So, I set out trying to define them. Curiously, though both the Group and Ungroup commands are available in the Ribbon (Drawing Tools > Format > Arrange > Group), they don’t show up in the list of commands when assigning keyboard shortcuts. So, I had to write macro versions:

Sub GroupShapes()
On Error Resume Next
Selection.ShapeRange.Group
Err.Clear: On Error GoTo 0
End Sub

Sub UnGroupShapes()
On Error Resume Next
Selection.ShapeRange.Ungroup
Err.Clear: On Error GoTo 0
End Sub


Pretty straightforward, really. The error handling is to cope with cases where grouping/ungrouping isn’t possible, such as when text is selected or if a ‘group’ operation is attempted and only one item is selected. The syntax is meant to resemble a try-catch block from other languages; here, since I just want to do nothing if a group/ungroup isn’t feasible, I don’t worry about actually catching the error. In other cases, I do something more like this:

Dim errNum as long

On Error Resume Next
' do questionable thing
errNum = Err.Number: Err.Clear: On Error GoTo 0

Select Case errNum
' handle cases
End Select


In any event, I bound GroupShapes to Ctrl+Alt+G and UnGroupShapes to Ctrl+Alt+Shift+G, and … 👍.

Written on February 14, 2019