Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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 Paragraph Marks and Line Breaks.

Searching for Paragraph Marks and Line Breaks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2019)

6

Word allows you to search not just for text, but also for special characters that normally do not print. Two of the most common characters you will find yourself searching for are paragraph marks and line breaks (sometimes called newline characters and inserted by pressing shift+enter). To search for these characters, follow these steps in Word 2007:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. In the Find What box, enter the text for which you want to search. To search for a paragraph mark, enter ^p; to search for a line break, enter ^l. It is important to use a lowercase p or l.
  4. Set other searching parameters, as desired.
  5. Click on Find Next.

If you are using Word 2010 or a later version, then the interface used for searching is different than in earlier versions of Word:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Navigation task pane at the left side of the screen.
  2. In the box at the top of the Navigation pane, enter the text for which you want to search. To search for a paragraph mark, enter ^p; to search for a line break, enter ^l. (It is important to use a lowercase p or l.) If there are not too many matches, Word displays them in the Navigation pane.
  3. Use the Next and Previous arrows, just to the right of the pane tabs, to navigate through what Word found.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8699) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Searching for Paragraph Marks and Line Breaks.

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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Comments

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What is seven less than 7?

2022-05-17 14:26:25

Lynne Skilken

Andy -- Thanks so much! I'd almost given up! This is great! Nobody else even recognized the question!
Thanks again!

Lynne


2021-06-08 08:18:54

Andrew

Lynne, it seems like it can't be done with search/replace, but it can with a macro. Check this post and the thread it is in:
https://www.office-forums.com/threads/search-for-style-separator.1879696/#post-5859361

And check this description referred to:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/vba/api/word.paragraph.isstyleseparator

And you will want to combine that with the Selection.InsertStyleSeparator command.

Andy.


2021-06-07 17:08:04

Lynne Skilken

Is there any way to use Find/Replace to find a paragraph mark and replace it with a Style Separator. I have a lengthy document and would like to select all instances of Heading 2 and replace the Paragraph Mark with a Style separator. This would save quite a bit of space and ink. I would then do the same thing for Heading 3. The document is too long to do this by hand and I can't find a way to insert a Style Separator in the Replace Box. Copying the style separator to the clipboard and pasting it into the Replace Box doesn't work either.


2021-04-23 02:05:01

Ralph Perry

I tried Peter's suggestion and it worked. Yipppeeee!


2021-04-23 00:58:12

Ralph Perry

I tried this in Word 365 (Microsoft® Word for Microsoft 365 MSO (16.0.13901.20366) 64-bit), but the ^l and ^c were not recognized as linefeed and CRLF, and were interpreted as literal text (which resulted in "no results found" being displayed.


2019-05-05 20:51:59

Peter Wezel

You may want to tell as well, that there is no need to learn these special characters by heart. You can enter these special characters from the Find or Replace box by pressing the More >> button and then selecting the Special button at the bottom of the window. Then a list of all special characters that can be seached for will be displayed. This includes not only paragraph marks and line breaks, but also page breaks, tab characters or any number, to name just a few.


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