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 Special Hyphens.

Searching for Special Hyphens

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 1, 2014)

2

Word allows you to search not just for text, but also for special characters that normally do not print. Two such characters are special types of hyphens used by Word. You can search either for optional hyphens (these are typically inserted by the Hyphenation tool) or for non-breaking hyphens. To search for these characters, follow these steps if you are using Word 2007:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. In the Find What box, enter the text for which you want to search. To search for an optional hyphen, enter ^-; to search for a non-breaking hyphen, enter ^~ (a tilde character). Optionally, you can specify the actual character by clicking on the Special button and selecting the type of hyphen from the list of special characters. (You may need to click on the More button before you can see the Special button.)
  3. Set other searching parameters, as desired.
  4. Click on Find Next.

If you are using Word 2010 or Word 2013, pressing Ctrl+F brings up the Navigation pane at the left side of the screen. You can still type any of the special character codes (step 2) into the Navigation pane and Word will highlight their location just fine in your document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9356) 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 Special Hyphens.

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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What is eight minus 3?

2014-11-03 15:18:43

Rick G.

Another option for a shortcut to doing Find "the old way" is to just use Ctrl+H which still brings up the old
"Find and Replace" dialog box, except it starts on the Replace tab instead of on the Find tab.
Then you can either:
1) Click the Find tab and proceed the familiar way.
OR
2) Just enter the string you want to find and click the Find Next button right on the Replace tab page.


2014-11-01 14:19:48

Aprile

To switch back to the old way of searching by Ctrl F:1.
Click File | Options | Customize Ribbon, or right-click on the ribbon and choose Customize Ribbon from the context menu.
2. Click the Keyboard Shortcuts: Customize button at the bottom left.
3. Select Home Tab from the Categories box at the top left.
4. Select EditFind from the Commands box at the top right.
5. You should now see which shortcut is assigned to that command in the Current Keys box, middle left. It should be empty, because the command has no shortcut.
6. Click in the Press New Shortcut Key box, in the middle right.
7. Press Ctrl+F together.
8. Click Assign.
9. Click Close.
10. Click OK on the Word Options dialog


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