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)

8

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. ...

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What is 5 + 3?

2018-09-13 16:30:29

Jeff Dixon

Daniel, when does ctrl+PgDn not work to find next? I use it all the time and that was my first thought. If you want to use your mouse hand to do it, I guess you have to write a macro and put it on your QAT like Amy says, though I would rather have it in the lower right corner the way it used to be (down and to the right are the directions your eyes follow as you scan through hits on a page, so it's intuitive to click in the lower right region to bring up a subsequent hit).


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.


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