Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Searching for Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format.

Searching for Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 7, 2015)

Word has a very powerful search capability that allows you to find not just text, but the formats of text as well. Many Word users already know how to search for character formats, but you may not know that you can also search for characters that do not have a certain formatting property. To search for characters lacking a certain format, follow these steps:

  1. If you are using Word 2007 press Ctrl+F. If you are using Word 2010 or a later version, display the Home tab of the ribbon, click the down-arrow next to the Find tool in the Editing group, then click Advanced Find. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click on the More button if it is available. Word displays an expanded version of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Delete anything in the Find What box and click on the No Formatting button if it is available.
  5. Click on the Format button and then choose Font. Word displays the Find Font dialog box. Notice that all the character attributes (Superscript, Subscript, and so on) in the Effects area are shaded. This means these attributes do not matter; they are ignored by Word when searching. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Find Font dialog box.

  7. Select the character attributes you don't want the matched text to have. Make sure the check box beside the attribute is cleared.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Click on Find Next.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6141) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Searching for Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format.

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. ...


Splitting a Table

Table getting too long? Need to move part of a table to somewhere else in your document? You can easily split an existing ...

Discover More

Preventing the Loss of Personal Information

For security purposes, you can configure a document so that no personal information is stored with the document. But what ...

Discover More

Smart Quotes are Incorrectly Replaced

Not able to replace smart quotes as you want? Here are some ways that you can be sure that every smart quote is changed, ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Understanding Underlines

Part of the formatting you can add to your text is underlining. That simple word (underlining) represents quite a few ...

Discover More

Superscript and Subscript at the Same Place

Do you want a superscript and subscript character to appear directly above each other? There are multiple ways you can ...

Discover More

Engraving Text

Word allows you to format your text in a number of different ways. One rather esoteric way to format your text is by ...

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}] 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 1 + 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

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

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.