Replacing Text and Capitalizing a Letter in One Step

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 17, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Joe has a document in which he wants to use Find and Replace. He needs to replace all instances of the word "paragraph" with a paragraph mark, which he knows how to do. However, he also wants to delete the space after the word "paragraph" (also easy) and then capitalize the letter after the space. He wonders if there is a way to do this using Find and Replace in a single pass.

You actually can perform this task using a single pass of your document with Find and Replace. The trick is in effectively using the wildcard search capabilities provided by Word. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click the More button, if it is visible. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The expanded Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Use Wildcards check box is selected.
  5. In the Find What box, enter "[pP]aragraph^32([a-zA-Z])" (without the quote marks).
  6. In the Replace With box, enter "^p\1" (again, without the quote marks).
  7. With the insertion point still in the Replace With box, click the Format button and then choose Font. Word displays the Find Font dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Find Font dialog box.

  9. Make sure that the All Caps check box has a check mark in it. (Click the check box however many times is necessary until you see a check mark.)
  10. Click OK to close the Find Font dialog box.
  11. Click on Replace All.
  12. Close the Find and Replace dialog box.

The wildcard pattern used in step 4 finds the word "Paragraph" or "paragraph" followed by a space (^32) and any single letter of the alphabet in the range of a-z or A-Z. The pattern in step 5 replaces the pattern in step 4 with a paragraph mark followed by the "single letter of the alphabet" found in step 4. Thus, you end up getting rid of the word "Paragraph" or "paragraph" and replacing it with a paragraph mark. The action in step 7 makes sure that the single character in the replacement is uppercase, as Joe desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1858) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Changing to UK English

Understanding how Word uses the Language settings.

Discover More

Viewing More than Two Places in a Worksheet

If your worksheet gets big enough, it is easy to spend a lot of time navigating back and forth between different areas. ...

Discover More

Printing Odd or Even Pages

You can instruct Word, when printing your document, to print only the odd- or even-numbered pages. This tip explains how ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Formatting Partial Results of a Search

The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are, simply, quite astounding. This is particularly true when using wildcard ...

Discover More

Ordering Search and Replace

The wildcard searching available in Word is very powerful. Here's how you can use ordering in your search efforts to make ...

Discover More

Searching for Characters

When using pattern matching in a search, you can specify individual characters or ranges of characters you want matched ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 4?

2023-02-10 11:21:27


V S Rawat:
If you copy the text with a character formatted as All Caps, then paste->Keep Text Only, that character will be converted to a regular capital.

2023-02-10 00:35:04

V S Rawat

how to capitalize first letter of first word in every paragraph (separated by ^p) in MS word?

And it cannot be just displaying the letter as capital using MS word's font settings because I have to take that text to some other app, so it has to be actual capitalization that stays across apps.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.