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Language: VB4,VB5,VB6,VBS
Expertise: beginner
Oct 16, 1999

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# Write concise code with the InStr function

You can often use the Instr function in an unorthodox way to write more concise code. A typical example is when you need to test a single character:
``````
' test whether CHAR contains a vowel
' the standard way
If UCase\$(char) = "A" Or UCase\$(char) = "E" Or UCase\$(char) = "I" Or UCase\$ _
(char) = "O"  Or UCase\$(char) = "U" Then
' it is a vowel
End If

' the more concise solution
If InStr("AaEeIiOoUu", char) Then
' it is a vowel
End If
``````
You can also use InStr to check the contents of a variable against a list of multi-character words, using a delimiter character that can't appear in the word:
``````
' test whether WORD contains the name of a season
' the standard way
If LCase\$(word) = "winter" Or LCase\$(word) = "spring" Or LCase\$(word) = _
"summer" Or LCase\$(word) = "fall" Then
' it is a season's name
End If

' the more concise way
If Instr(";winter;spring;summer;fall;", ";" & word & ";") Then
' it is a season's name
End If
``````
In some sames you can even use InStr to replace a Select Case block, but you must pay a lot of attention to the number of characters in the arguments:
``````
' convert a string in the range from "zero" to "nine" to the corresponding
' numeric value:

' the standard way
Select Case LCase\$(word)
Case "zero"
result = 0
Case "one"
result = 1
Case "two"
result = 2
Case "three"
result = 3
Case "four"
result = 4
Case "five"
result = 5
Case "six"
result = 6
Case "seven"
result = 7
Case "eight"
result = 8
Case "nine"
result = 9
End Select

' the more concise way
' note that the longest word in the list is 5 characters long, so we must
' pad shorter strings with the necessary number of semicolons
result = InStr(";zero;;one;;;two;;;three;four;;five;;six;;;seven;eight;nine;", _
";" & LCase\$(word) & ";") \ 6
``````
Francesco Balena

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