Replacing Formatting Functions as a Toggle

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 17, 2016)

1

Sarra is trying to use Find and Replace to make a particular word italics throughout an entire document. Some of the existing occurrences are already italics, but most are not. The replace operation is switching the existing italics back to regular text—it is functioning as a toggle. Sarra wonders how to get Find and Replace to convert all the words to italics without changing those that already are italics.

In testing, I could not replicate Sarra's problem of previously italic text become non-italic and previously regular text becoming italic. Even so, there is a rather easy way to anticipate and overcome any potential problem and still only perform a single find and replace operation. Follow these steps:

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

  4. Click the No Formatting button, if it is available.
  5. In the Find What box, enter the word or phrase for which you want to search.
  6. With the insertion point still in the Find What box, press Ctrl+I twice. The text "Not Italic" should appear just below the Find What box.
  7. Click once in the Find What box to place the insertion point there.
  8. Click the No Formatting button, if it is available.
  9. In the Replace With box, either enter the same word or phrase you specified in step 4, or enter ^&, which instructs Word to use the text in the Find What box.
  10. With the insertion point still in the Replace With box, press Ctrl+I once. The text "Italic" should appear just below the Replace With box. (See Figure 2.)
  11. Figure 2. Getting ready to do the replace operation.

  12. Change any other settings in the dialog box, as desired.
  13. Click the Replace All button.

The result of this approach to doing the Find and Replace is that only the text that is not italic will be matched and changed to italic. Any text previously formatted as italic will be skipped completely.

You should note that steps 5 and 9 use a formatting shortcut for specifying "not italic" and "italic," respectively. You could, if you prefer, also click Format | Font in each step to display the Find Font dialog box (step 5) and Replace Font dialog box (step 9) and then choose Not Italic (step 5) and Italic (step 9).

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5910) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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

Undoing Smart Tag Exclusions

Depending on who you ask, Smart Tags can be really cool or really distracting. If you fall on the "cool" side, you may make a ...

Discover More

Deleting Additional Clocks

Windows can display up to three separate clocks so you can keep track of what time it is in various time zones. If you want ...

Discover More

How Word Applies Styles

Styles are a great boon for applying styles in a powerfully consistent manner. How Word applies styles, however, depends on ...

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

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 ...

Discover More

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 ...

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 8Mpixels. 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 three more than 5?

2016-12-20 00:54:28

William Loring

Step 6 in the instructions above should refer b to the 'replace with' box, not the 'find what' box.


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.