Finding Documents Containing Multiple Occurrences of a Word

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 7, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Brian has a lot of Word documents. When displaying the Open dialog box or when using a regular folder window, he can search and display only documents that contain a specific word. He wonders, though, if there is a way to display only documents that contain at least two occurrences (or more) of a particular word. In other words, he wants to exclude the display of documents that either don't contain the word or that have only a single occurrence of the word.

This is actually quite easy to do—just use a wildcard character when setting up your search. For instance, let's say that you want to search for documents that contain at least two instances of the word "widget." You could use this as your search criteria:

widget*widget

Note that the asterisk is a wildcard; it matches any number of characters. Thus, you end up searching for "widget" followed by any number of characters and then another instance of "widget." If the document contains only a single occurrence of the word "widget," then this search string automatically excludes those documents.

In order for this approach to work, you'll need to make sure that the "Always search file names and contents" option is selected in the Search tab of Folder Options dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9957) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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