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: Initiating a New Search.

Initiating a New Search

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 25, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


There are times when it is possible to really muck things up when searching for information. This usually happens when you have been searching for text and formatting, and you now want to search for something new. If you don't remember to reset all the search variables, you might never find what you are searching for. To overcome this problem if you are using Word 2007, display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box (press Ctrl+F) and check the following:

  • Did you clear the formatting? If the No Formatting button is available, then you should click on it.
  • Did you clear the text in the Find What box? If not, do so—or at least replace it with text for which you want to search. Remember that there may be a space or some other non-printing character in the field. It is best to highlight the field and press the Del key.

If you are using Word 2010 or a later version of Word, then how you handle searching is a bit different. Even so, you should check the same two things. The way you get to these options is to explicitly display the Find and Replace dialog box. There are two ways to do this:

  • Display the Home tab of the ribbon, click the down-arrow next to the Find tool, then choose Advanced Find.
  • Press Ctrl+F to display the Navigation pane. At the right side of the box where you enter what you want to find, click the down-arrow and choose Advanced Find.

If you still have problems finding what you want, the quickest solution is to exit Word, start the program again, reload the document, and search again.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9926) 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: Initiating a New Search.

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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