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: A Fast Find-Next.

A Fast Find-Next

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 6, 2016)

7

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), 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 work great 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 pane 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, and 2016. 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Setting Denominator Depth Spacing in the Equation Editor

How to change the distance between a fraction bar and the baseline of the number below it.

Discover More

Locating Locked Fields

A field can be locked or unlocked, and its condition controls whether it is updated automatically or not. If you want to ...

Discover More

Precise Ruler Adjustments

When adjusting the position of things on the ruler (like tab stops), you can use the Alt key to get very precise in your ...

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)

Easily Spotting Found Text

The color used by Word to draw your attention to "found text" when using Find and Replace can vary, based on a number of ...

Discover More

Searching for Special Characters

When using the Find and Replace feature of Word, you can search for more than plain text. You can also search for characters ...

Discover More

Changing the Position of the Dollar Sign

When you receive documents created by others, it is not unusual that you'll want to edit what they've written. For instance, ...

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 4 + 1?

2017-08-29 08:18:29

Daniel Lamarche

I like to brag that I use over 60 keyboard shortcuts in Word but .... I didn't know about Shift+F4. Well ... good on you mate. I understand that Ctrl+PgDn would not work all the time...

Thanks for that.

Too bad for the disappearance of 'Browse by Object'. It was perfectly placed at the bottom of the Scroll bar.

Daniel


2016-09-02 16:43:28

Len

Didn't work in my Word 2013. The thing I don't like about Find is that if I spot something I want to change, changing it nullifies my Find. How can I just jump into the text, fix something, and click Find Next? Any way around this?

Len


2016-08-08 10:15:59

Amy

Wow, I never knew there were keyboard shortcuts for that, and now I know three! I was really inconvenienced when Word removed the page up-down/browse next arrows from the scroll bar. I ended up adding them to my QAT, which helped. Thanks for the tips.


2016-08-08 08:51:58

Jennifer Thomas

And let's not forget our old friend 'Browse by Object' (at the bottom of the vertical scroll bar) - finding something automatically sets the tool's current 'object to be found' as the next find/go to, so you can just click the blue arrows to navigate.


2016-08-08 08:09:06

Drew Trott

A third alternative for Find Again, which keeps one's fingers closer to the home keys, is CTRL-ALT-Y.


2016-08-07 12:21:02

Christine

I love keyboard shortcuts, and didn't know about Shift +F4. However, I have always used Ctrl + Page Down/Up which also works well for this find next function, although I have no idea if there's an advantage of one method over the other?

F4 is a great time saver when formatting repetitively, too, it repeats the last action performed.


2016-08-06 11:51:03

Vin Weasel

You also can use Ctrl+PgDn to find the next occurrence, and then Ctrl+PgUp to find the previous occurrence.


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.