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


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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. ...

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What is four more than 4?

2023-02-10 11:21:27

Tomek

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.

Thanks.


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