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: Preserving Bookmarks During Replace Operations.

Preserving Bookmarks During Replace Operations

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 10, 2016)

Bookmarks are a handy feature of Word, and they can be used for a variety of purposes. (Bookmarks have been discussed extensively in other WordTips.) When you define a bookmark, you essentially are providing a name by which either a location or a group of characters can later be referenced in a document. For instance, you could highlight a client's name, and then define a bookmark called Client that could be used elsewhere in the document to refer to the client's name.

When you do a search and replace operation, it is possible to inadvertently erase a bookmark. For instance, consider the following text:

This agreement between [John Doe] and [Mary Smith]
is entered into freely and without compulsion.

The brackets in this text indicate the beginning point and ending point of two bookmarks. (The brackets would not appear in the actual text; they are only provided here to help clarify the example.) If you search for either "John Doe" or "Mary Smith" and replace the names with new names, the bookmarks disappear. This can be a problem for other places in your document where you may reference the bookmarks. All of a sudden, there is nothing left to reference.

Why are the bookmarks deleted? Quite simply, it is because you have deleted the bookmark. Everything that was in the bookmark is gone, so Word no longer needs the bookmark and it is tossed aside. The solution to this problem is to be very careful in how you construct your bookmarks, or be careful in how you do your search and replace. For instance, you could define your bookmarks a bit differently:

This agreement between[ John Doe ]and[ Mary Smith ]
is entered into freely and without compulsion.

Note that in this example, the spaces surrounding the names are included in the bookmarks. Now, when you search and replace for the entire names, the text that makes up the bookmark is never deleted (the spaces would remain), so Word doesn't toss out the bookmarks.

The other option involves changing how you do your search and replace. Since the idea is to make sure that at least some of the text from the original bookmark remains in place after a search and replace operation, you can do two search and replace operations instead of one. For instance, if you want to replace John Doe with Margaret Brown, in your first search and replace you would replace John with Margaret and in your second search and replace you would replace Doe with Brown. The result is that you never fully replace the original text of the bookmark, and it should remain in place when you are done.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12095) 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: Preserving Bookmarks During Replace Operations.

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

Calculating Only the Active Workbook

When you enter information into a workbook, Excel automatically recalculates every worksheet in every open workbook on your ...

Discover More

Shortcut for AutoCorrect Dialog Box

There is no built-in keyboard shortcut that will display the AutoCorrect dialog box. This doesn't mean that there aren't a ...

Discover More

Macros in Template Files

People often place macros in template files to perform any number of tasks. This tip describes a situation where the link ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE WORDTIPS (RIBBON)

Determining the Number of Bookmarks Defined in a Document

If you develop a macro that needs to work with bookmarks defined in a document, it is inevitable that you will need a way to ...

Discover More

Understanding and Using Bookmarks

Bookmarks are a great feature you can use to mark the location of text or to mark a position within a document. They can be ...

Discover More

Deleting a Bookmark

Create a bookmark and you may, at some future point, need to delete that bookmark. It's easy to do, as described in this tip.

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 for this tip:

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. 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 8 - 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

Links and Sharing
Share