Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: When Replace Doesn't Work.

When Replace Doesn't Work

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 1, 2016)

3

When you try to replace text in your document using Find and Replace, things may not always work as you would expect. If they don't, check these factors:

  • Have you made a selection of text? If so, the replace operation will work only within that selection.
  • Have you cleared the formatting? (Unless the formatting is necessary for what you are trying to do.)
  • Is Track Changes turned on? (Some functions using wildcards don't work as expected if Track Changes is on.)
  • Did you spell the Find What and Replace With text correctly?
  • Are there special characters in what you are looking for? (If so, you'll want to make sure you enter the special characters properly.)
  • Are the search modifiers (match case and whole word) selected properly?

If these factors are set properly and it still doesn't work properly, then you should exit Word and restart the program. You will then be able to perform the replace anew, with Word in a "fresh" condition.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11097) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: When Replace Doesn't Work.

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

Determining Differences Between Dates

Do you need to do some simple math using dates in a your macro? One of the easy functions you can use is the DateDiff ...

Discover More

Creating a Google Account

Your use of Drive is tied to having a valid Google account. If you have a G-mail account, you already have a Google ...

Discover More

Applying the All Caps Format

Want your text to always appear in uppercase, regardless of how you type it? Word allows you to add formatting to your ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Replacing Hidden Text

Word allows you to format text so it can be easily hidden from view and from printing. If you want to convert the hidden ...

Discover More

Replacing without Automatically Finding

When you use Word's Find and Replace capability, clicking the Replace button performs the replacement and automatically ...

Discover More

A Fast Find-Next

Want a quick, easy way to "search again" for the next occurrence of what you need? Use the technique in this tip 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 nine more than 4?

2018-09-14 15:58:05

scott Larson

I appreciate that it takes time and effort to provide help with computer programs. I also appreciate nothing is free. However, the low level of technical "meat" (more like common sense) and the high level of advertising makes this site is not useful to me. My find command works but my replace command does not. Thank you.


2016-10-03 16:23:24

Caran

Iris, Have you checked that the capital letters aren't being formatted as all caps format with caps lock on? I've run in to something similar before. One thing in particular we were told to do was to use Shift+F3 to change the case of a letter instead of using caps lock (?), I don't remember for sure. Maybe that would have been the solution.


2016-09-30 04:10:25

Iris Wood

I always use find and replace and use formatting and never highlight the text. It is a very important tool but didn't work after Office was reinstalled by windows. It did not fix itself after restarting on many occasions. I did the doc I wanted by hand and have tried other dos but doesn't work. Mine was a capital letter that was sent to me in a draft. It kept showing 13 replacements but it was always the same. Even when I did it by hand and made most changes it still said it had made 13 changes. In the last few days I have had lots of downloads but no fixes. 30 Sep 2016


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.