Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Using Find and Replace to Change Text Case.

Using Find and Replace to Change Text Case

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 2, 2019)

David wanted to find words with an initial capital letter and change the initial capital letter to lowercase. Using wildcards, he wrote a Find string that correctly found capitalized words. However, David was unable to figure out how to change the initial capital to lowercase. He thought of using a Replace string but didn't know how to create one that would do that.

There is no way to do this in Word, at least not using Find and Replace by itself. The closest you can achieve is to create a macro that will use Find and Replace to step through all instances of your capitalized words and individually change the case of them.

You can, however, easily change the case of those letters by following these general steps:

  1. Display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (In Word 2007 press Ctrl+F. In later versions of Word press Ctrl+F to display the Navigation task pane, click the down-arrow at the right of the Search box, and choose Advanced Find.)
  2. Click the More button, if it is available. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Set up your wildcard search as you normally would to locate all the words that have the initial caps letter.
  5. Use the Find In drop-down list to choose Main Document. Word immediately selects all of the words that match the pattern you specified in step 2.
  6. Press Esc to get rid of the Find and Replace dialog box. Your words should all still be selected.
  7. Press Shift+F3 as many times as necessary to get the capitalization the way you want it for the selected words.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12517) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Find and Replace to Change Text Case.

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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