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: Replacing with Plain Text.

Replacing with Plain Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 18, 2017)

If you use Word's Find and Replace tool to search for text and replace it with other text, Word applies to the replacement text the character attributes it found in the first character of the Find What text. For example, if you search for "Highlight is a brief review," and the word "Highlight" is in italics in the document, then the entire replacement string is formatted as italics by Word.

This behavior is by design; Word needs to pick some sort of formatting for the replacement text, so it bases it on the first character of what is being replaced. In most cases this isn't a problem, but in some cases (such as when the replacement text needs to have several character attributes) it can be a problem.

One solution is to use the formatting capabilities of the Find and Replace tool. When setting up your search, make sure the insertion point is in the Replace With box and then use the Format drop-down list to choose what formatting you want applied to the replacement text. If you don't want it to have any formatting, then you can choose Format | Font and make sure that Regular Text is selected.

If your formatting needs are more complex than forcing a plain-text replacement, then this simplistic approach won't work. For instance, you might want to replace "Hilight is a brief review" with "Highlights is a magazine for children," and both "Hilight" and "Highlights" were the only text to appear in italics. In this case, you need to rely on a more esoteric feature of the Find and Replace tool.

  1. Find a place in your document where you can type the replacement text and format it the way you want.
  2. Select the text and press Ctrl+X. The text is cut from the document and placed in the Clipboard.
  3. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. In the Find What box, enter the text you want to replace.
  6. In the Replace With box, enter ^c.
  7. Click Replace All.

Word finds whatever text you specified in step 4 and replaces it with the contents of the Clipboard, which happens to be your formatted replacement text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9355) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Replacing with Plain Text.

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

Getting Rid of Choppiness in Justified Text

Justified text doesn't always produce the best-looking results. Here's how to avoid some of the choppiness that can occur.

Discover More

Monthly Close-Out Dates

If your company closes out its accounting months at the end of each calendar quarter, figuring out the proper closing ...

Discover More

Getting a Warning for Markup

Many people, when collaborating on a document with others, use the Track Changes feature to show the effects of their ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Searching for Adjectives and Adverbs

Searching for different types of words in your documents is a nice thing to contemplate, but it is much harder to do in ...

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 ...

Discover More

Keyboard Control of the Find and Replace Dialog Box

Hate to take your hands off the keyboard? This tip explains how you can use the keyboard to work with the Find and ...

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 seven minus 6?

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
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.