Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Ignoring Accented Characters in Searches.

Ignoring Accented Characters in Searches

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 17, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Sheila has many files of French names. Since use of accents varies on the names, she would like to be able to search for names without having to include the accents. She wonders if Word can perform "accent insensitive" searches.

The short answer is no, it cannot. The reason is simple: Word searches for characters, and all the accented characters are individual and distinct characters.

The workaround, of course, is to use ^? (any character) or ^$ (any letter) in the place where the various accented characters may appear in your names. If you choose to do wildcard searches, you can get even more specific in the accented characters you want to include or not include in your searching.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10627) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Ignoring Accented Characters in Searches.

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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