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: A Fast Find-Next.

A Fast Find-Next

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 26, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


1

Word provides a fast, efficient, and flexible searching feature. Using the Find and Replace tool, you can search for just about anything in your document. I find myself using Find quite often in the course of creating a document, but there is one thing about Find that bothers me: I hate having the Find dialog box block part of my document as I am stepping through occurrences of a search string in my document. Clicking on Find Next works great, but that bothersome dialog box is still blocking my view.

To overcome this, I generally do the following when I am searching for something:

  1. Use the Find feature as normal (Ctrl+F in Word 2007 or Ctrl+H in later versions, then clicking on the Find tab), specifying what I want to search for and then looking for the first occurrence of the string.
  2. When the first occurrence is displayed, I press the Esc key (or click on Cancel).
  3. To find the next occurrence, I press Shift+F4.

This procedure works the same as clicking Find Next repeatedly, and it is just as fast, but it gets rid of the annoying Find dialog box.

The above steps are easy to use if you are using Word 2007. However, there is no dialog box that appears in Word 2010 or later versions, unless you are using the advanced Find and Replace capabilities. Instead, what you are looking for (and instances of what is found) is shown at the left side of the document. This can be convenient, but for "old timers," the Shift+F4 shortcut is handier because it works even without the Find dialog box displayed.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12327) 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: A Fast Find-Next.

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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What is one less than 8?

2023-08-26 08:42:44

Jeff Wood

Allen,

I question the utility of this comment, because when you use the Escape key to close the find/replace window, you lose the ability to use the Alt-F /Alt-R find/find and replace duo. I think a simpler solution, which retains the full functionality of the Ctrl-H search box is the following: after the first time you use the "find" function, simply slid the search/replace box off the right side of the screen until only the left edge of the box shows -- and then rely on the Alt-F key.

The disadvantage of this is that you have to manually pull the find/replace box back on the screen to close it.


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