Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Special Differences when Searching.

Special Differences when Searching

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 6, 2019)

2

Word includes a powerful search feature that allows you to find information based on just about every conceivable condition. As covered in other issues of WordTips, you can even use wildcards (Word's term for what programmers call regular expressions) in your searching. Here's a tip you may not have known, however.

First, start by displaying the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (This could just as easily apply to the Replace tab, but working with the Find tab will illustrate the point.) If the More button is available, click it so that the dialog box is expanded. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The expanded Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

When you use the normal search capabilities of Word (in other words, the Use Wildcards check box is not selected), the Special button at the bottom of the dialog box displays different special characters for which you can search. If you do a wildcard search (the Use Wildcards check box is selected), the options available when you click on Special are changed to reflect the special needs of using wildcards in your searching.

Why is this a big deal? Because along with the power available by using wildcards in your searching comes additional complexity. Sometimes it is hard to remember the meaning of the different special wildcard characters. Remembering that the Special button displays the necessary characters helps make using wildcards easier.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (2076) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Special Differences when Searching.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Calculating Months of Tenure

Need to know the number of months between two dates? It's easy to figure out if you use the DATEDIF function.

Discover More

Changing Page Margins

Part of determining page layout is to specify the size of the margins that surround the text on a page. Word allows you ...

Discover More

Duplex by Default

Many printers these days have the capability to print on both sides of a piece of paper. You may want Word to use this ...

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)

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. ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] 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 five more than 5?

2019-12-06 08:55:01

CO'C

I've been using Word for 30 years, and am familiar with "contextual clicks" (for lack of a better term), but I never knew THIS! I'll have to go play with it now.


2019-12-06 08:17:47

Jennifer Thomas

Thank you! I love the power of Wildcards, especially for replace options, but always had to open my handout to remember how to use the characters and the syntax - this is so much easier :).


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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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.