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: Searching for Paragraph Marks and Line Breaks.

Searching for Paragraph Marks and Line Breaks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 3, 2016)

2

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). 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 Word 2013 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. In the pane the Browse tab is selected.
  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, and 2013. 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Deleting Footnotes and Endnotes

Deleting either footnotes or endnotes is a simple process. Just select the reference mark and delete it. Assuming you are ...

Discover More

Getting Audible Feedback

Want to get a little bit of sound with your data? Excel can provide audible feedback that you may find helpful. Here's how.

Discover More

Extracting INCLUDEPICTURE File Names

If you use the INCLUDEPICTURE field to add images to your document, you may love the macro in this tip. It allows you to pull ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Inserting a Special Symbol

The vast majority of what you enter into a document can be accomplished through the use of the regular keyboard. However, ...

Discover More

Understanding Nonprinting Characters

Even characters that print nothing still take space in your document. Characters such as tabs, spaces, breaks, and the like ...

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 four less than 4?

2016-10-03 14:45:29

Mike

You can also click on More in the Find and Replace dialog box and then click Special. This will allow you to search for many non-printing characters.
These will highlight even if they're not displayed by turning on the Show/Hide Paragraph button on the Home Tab.
It's usually better to have the non-printing characters displayed but the Find and Find/Replace dialog box will highlight then either way.
A great use for this is a document with numerous returns (Paragraph) marks in between pages and/or what we sometimes find at the end of a document.
Simply use the method noted above or enter double, or triple paragraph marks (^p^p, ^p^p^p) for the find and replace them with one Paragraph mark (^p).


2016-10-03 07:59:37

Surendera M. Bhanot

Such non-printing marks are visible simply by clicking the the inverted P "Show/hide" button in the Paragraph Group on the Home Tab.

This toggle button show (or hide) the Paragraph marks and other formatting symbols.

This can also be achieved by holding Ctrl+Shift together and pressing *

One can directly edit them in the doc once they are visible!!


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.