Find and Replace
Word's Find and Replace function can quickly make changes throughout your document in just a couple steps. You can add, remove, or replace just about anything with this comprehensive feature. Learn how to utilize this powerful capability in Word with the following tips.
Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Find and Replace' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
A Fast Find-Next
Want a quick, easy way to "search again" for the next occurrence of what you need? Use the technique in this tip and you'll be finding what you need faster than ever.
Adding Tags to Text
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word can be used to add HTML tags to your document text. This is easier to do than it may sound, using the technique outlined in this tip.
Applying a Character Style to Bracketed Text
Word has a powerful Find and Replace capability. It is even more powerful if you turn on its wildcard capability. Here's an example that allows you to apply a style to bracketed text.
Applying Styles and Removing Characters using Find and Replace
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are very powerful, allowing you to accomplish more than one task at a time. This tip shows you how you can apply styles and get rid of characters all in one pass.
Changing Decimal Commas to Decimal Points
If you have a document that was produced in a country where decimal commas are used instead of decimal points, you may be looking for a way to convert this numeric convention to what you prefer. Here's how to do it using Word's Find and Replace capabilities.
Changing European Dates to US Dates
Want to change the order of the day and month in a date? This tip shows you how you can do so using the Find and Replace capabilities of Word.
Changing Formatting for a Portion of Found Text
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are quite powerful. If you want to change the formatting of just a part of text you find, you can do it rather easily using the two techniques described in this tip.
Changing Text in a Comment
Word has a very powerful find-and-replace capability, but it can be a bit persnickety when it comes to changing text within comments. This tip looks at how you can make those sorts of changes quickly and easily.
Changing the Formatting of All Instances of a Word
Need to find all the instances of a particular word and change the formatting of those instances? It's easy to do using the regular Find and Replace capabilities of the program.
Changing the Position of the Dollar Sign
When you receive documents created by others, it is not unusual that you'll want to edit what they've written. For instance, the document might contain amounts where the dollar sign is after the digits instead of before. This tip shows how you can use Find and Replace to take care of moving that dollar sign to where it should be.
Controlling Case in Find and Replace
When using Find and Replace, how Word handles the case of letters in replacements can be confusing. It needn't be, if you remember the information provided in this tip.
Copying Found Items to a New Document
Word allows you to use its searching capabilities to easily find multiple items in a document. What if you want to copy all those found items to a different document? Here are some techniques you can use.
Count of Underlined or Struck-Through Words
When working with documents (particularly those prepared by others) it is not unusual to need to count words that possess specific types of formatting. Here are two ways that you can easily get the counts you need, using underlined or struck-through words as the example.
Counting a Particular Word
Need to know how many times a particular word appears in a document? Here's a handy trick that will tell you the count, using a tool with which you are already familiar.
Deleting Regular Text between Bold Text
Word makes it easy, using Find and Replace, to replace or delete information based on its formatting. Whether this accomplishes what is desired needs to be carefully considered, however.
Easily Finding Superscripts
Word has a powerful Find and Replace capability, but sometimes it can be tricky to figure out exactly how to use it. Here are some good ideas on how you can use it to search for any superscripts in your document.
Easily Spotting Found Text
The color used by Word to draw your attention to "found text" when using Find and Replace can vary, based on a number of variables. This tip discusses those variables and shows how you can change the color used, if so desired.
Finding All Camel-Case Words
If you need to find words that mix uppercase and lowercase characters together, you will appreciate this tip. Here I show how to use a wildcard search to find just about any mixture you may want.
Finding and Deleting Rows
Got a table that contains rows you want to delete? Deleting one or two rows in a table is easy; deleting a bunch of rows that meet certain criteria can be more difficult. Here's a way you can make the deletions.
Finding and Replacing Table Cell Color
The Find and Replace tool built into Word is quite powerful. It cannot do everything, however, as there are just some things it is not designed to find or replace. This tip looks at one of those situations, the background color in table cells.
Finding and Replacing Text Boxes
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are very powerful, but they still come up a bit short when searching for some elements of a document. One such case is when you want to find text boxes. This tip shows you how you can both find text boxes and replace them with a graphic.
Finding Missing Spaces before Numbers
If you want to insert a space between letters and digits in your document, you have a couple of tasks to perform. First, you need to find the combination and then you need to make the insertion. This tip shows how easy this is to do using Find and Replace.
Finding Quoted Text in VBA
Macros are created for all sorts of purposes in creating, editing, and processing documents. You might want to use a macro to search for specific text that is surrounded by quote marks within a document. Here's how to do it correctly using the Find method.
Finding Text Using a Specific Highlighting Color
If you use the highlighter tool extensively, you may want to search for text that is highlighted using a particular color. You can't do that using Word's native tools, but you can by using a macro. This tip explains why this is and shares a macro that will do the searching.
Getting Rid of Hidden Text in Many Files
Hidden text is a great boon if you want to make sure something doesn't show up on the screen or on a printout. If you want to get rid of that hidden text before you pass your document on to someone else, here's some techniques you can use.
Getting Rid of Trailing Spaces in Footnotes and Endnotes
The Find and Replace tool can get rid of trailing spaces in paragraphs quite nicely. If those spaces are at the end of footnotes or endnotes, however, then the replacement behavior is quite inconsistent. Here's how to always get rid of those pesky spaces.
Highlighting Found Text
When searching for text, Word can helpfully highlight all instances of what is found. If you want that highlighting to be permanent, you'll need to alter the steps you follow, as described in this tip.
Initiating a New Search
I do a lot of searching in my documents. Sometimes the searches may not go exactly as I expected. Here are some things I routinely check when starting a new search.
Keeping a Replace Operation Displayed
The Find and Replace tool is designed to help you find and replace information as quickly as possible. However, you may not want the tool to helpfully display the next match after each replacement is made. Here are some ideas you can use instead.
Keyboard Control of the Find and Replace Dialog Box
Hate to take your hands off the keyboard? This tip explains how you can use the keyboard to work with the Find and Replace dialog box, without the need to use the mouse at all.
Making Ctrl+F Work Traditionally
One change introduced in Word 2010 was the new navigation pane that is used for simple searching of information. This pane is displayed when you press Ctrl+F to begin your search. You can configure Word to display the traditional Find and Replace dialog box when you use Ctrl+F by applying this tip.
Making Hyperlinks from Coded Text
Sometimes you may receive documents from others that you need to process in some way. Word's Find and Replace capabilities can be invaluable in performing such processing. Where things get tricky is if you need to do more than simply replace what you find. This tip provides a slick little macro that can quickly convert coded text into hyperlinks.
Pay Attention to Case when Searching for ASCII Codes
Word allows you to search for specific ASCII codes in a document. If you use codes to search for alphabetic characters, you may get more than what you bargain for.
Quick and Dirty Paragraph Count
Need to know how many paragraphs are in a document? You can use Word's Find and Replace feature to get a count quickly.
Removing HTML Tags from Text
HTML tags are great when you want to display information on a web page. They are not so great when you have them in a Word document. This tip looks at ways you can get rid of those HTML tags and still retain the formatting that would result from the tags.
Removing HTTP from URLs
Having problems when it comes to replacing information in URLs? You're not the only one; it can be confusing making mass changes to active hyperlinks. Here's the lowdown on how to make the changes you need to see.
Removing Spaces before Footnote References
If you need to remove a space before a footnote reference, doing so may seem an impossible task. However, you can use two different Find and Replace techniques to make short work of the edit.
Replacements Use an Incorrect Foreign Language Character
When using Find and Replace, it is possible that you might notice some surprising results when the replacements are done. In this case, you should check the font of the characters both before and after replacing. This can help you pinpoint any problems that may arise.
Replacing a Colon in a Sequence
Sometimes you'll run across the need to replace a very specific sequence of characters in your document. It is for these instances that Word provides the wildcard capabilities of Find and Replace. This tip describes a common sequence that needs searching and how you can replace it using wildcards.
Replacing an X with a Check Mark
In order to provide a finishing touch to your document, you may want to replace mundane X marks with fancier check marks. This can be done with the Find and Replace capabilities of Word, as described in this tip.
Replacing and Renumbering
Word has a powerful find and replace capability that can help you perform quite a few changes to your documents. This tip looks at one technique that allows you to actually replace "static" text with incremented numbers.
Replacing Formatting Functions as a Toggle
Sarra is having a problem getting Find and Replace to behave properly when replacing italic-formatted text. This tip provides an alternative approach to replacing that will get the exact results desired.
Replacing Hidden Text
Word allows you to format text so it can be easily hidden from view and from printing. If you want to convert the hidden text to regular text, there's an easy way to do it using the regular Find and Replace capabilities of Word.
Replacing Highlighted Words
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are quite powerful. Knowing how to find and replace highlighted text can be a bit confusing, however. Here are two approaches you can use to such a task.
Replacing Multiple Spaces with Tabs
If you get a document or some text that has multiple consecutive spaces used to align information, you'll undoubtedly be looking for a quick way to replace those spaces with tabs. Here's the absolute fastest way to do the replacing.
Replacing the Space between the Last Two Words of Each Paragraph
Some replacement tasks can seem daunting, but Word provides some great tools for making just about any replacement you might think of. This tip examines how to replace a single space between the last two words of each paragraph in your document.
Replacing with a Subscript
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are quite powerful. One type of replacing may not seem possible at first--replacing text with other text having formatting such as superscripts or subscripts. This type of editing is possible, however, by following the techniques presented in this tip.
Replacing with Plain Text
When using Find and Replace, how your replacements are formatted will depend on how the text being replaced is formatted. Here is why that happens and some ways that you can affect the formatting of the replacement text.
Replacing without Automatically Finding
When you use Word's Find and Replace capability, clicking the Replace button performs the replacement and automatically moves to the next possible replacement to be made. If you want Word to make the replacement and stay at where that replacement was made, you may be out of luck. This tip presents a clunky workaround that you can build into your workflow, if desired.
Saving Find and Replace Operations
Want to repeat the same Find and Replace operation over and over again? Here are a couple of ways you can improve your productivity in this area.
Searching and Replacing Graphics
Got a bunch of graphics in a document that need replacing? (Perhaps you need to replace an old logo with a new one.) Word doesn't provide a direct way to do it, but there are ways to get what you want.
Searching for Adjectives and Adverbs
Searching for different types of words in your documents is a nice thing to contemplate, but it is much harder to do in reality. The English language has enough vagaries that it can be challenging.
Searching for Footnote and Endnote Marks
Do you want to quickly search for any footnote or endnote marks in your document? Word makes it easy using the standard Find and Replace dialog box.
Searching for Items in an Automatically Numbered List
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word can be very powerful, but there are some things you cannot search for. One such thing is a number in an automatically numbered list. This tip looks at how you can actually do this type of search.
Searching for Optional Hyphens
If you have a document that contains optional hyphens (special characters that mark where a word can be split between lines), then you may want to use the Find and Replace tool to locate them. You can easily do that by following the steps outlined in this tip.
Searching for Special Characters
When using the Find and Replace feature of Word, you can search for more than plain text. You can also search for characters that have special meaning or purpose in your document. This tip shows how easy it is to find these characters.
Searching for Text that Doesn't End a Paragraph
The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are very powerful, particularly if you are using wildcards in your search. Here's an overview of how you can use these capabilities to search for text that doesn't happen to fall at the end of a paragraph.
Selectively Find and Replace Page Borders
Using Find and Replace you can both find and replace graphics in your document. Replacing graphics selectively is a bit trickier, however.
Special Differences when Searching
Word includes two different search engines. Which search engine you choose to use will dictate what Word shows as available special characters.
Using Find and Replace to Change Text Case
Can you really use Find and Replace to change the case of text in your document? Not really, but that shouldn't stop you from relying on the tool to make the changes with this workaround.
Using Search Text in the Replacement
When you use the Find and Replace tool in Word, you may want to include what you searched for in the replacement text. That's easy to do; just apply the technique described in this tip.
When Replace Doesn't Work
Find and Replace is a great tool, but what are you to do if your find or replace doesn't work as you expect? This tip provides a few pointers that will help you track down the cause of whatever problems you are facing.