Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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: Searching for Formatting.

Searching for Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 26, 2020)

Word has a very powerful search capability that allows you to find not just text but the formats of text as well. To search for character formatting, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (In Word 2007 just press Ctrl+F. In Word 2010 and later versions press Ctrl+F to display the Navigation pane, then click the down arrow at the very right of the Search box in the Navigation pane, and finally choose Advanced Find.)
  2. Make sure the Find What box is empty.
  3. If the More button is available, click on it.
  4. Click on the No Formatting button, if it is enabled.
  5. Click on the Format button, then select Font. Word displays the Find Font dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Find Font dialog box.

  7. Select the character attributes for which you want to search. If there is a check in a check box, the text matched must have the corresponding attribute. If the check box is empty, then the text won't have that attribute. A shaded check box means the attribute doesn't matter.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Click on Find Next.

You can also find paragraph formatting, as well. To search for paragraph formatting, the steps are pretty much the same:

  1. Display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (In Word 2007 just press Ctrl+F. In Word 2010 and later versions press Ctrl+F to display the Navigation pane, then click the down arrow at the very right of the Search box in the Navigation pane, and finally choose Advanced Find.)
  2. Make sure the Find What box is empty.
  3. If the More button is available, click on it.
  4. Click on the No Formatting button, if it is enabled.
  5. Click on the Format button and select Paragraph. Word displays the Find Paragraph dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Find Paragraph dialog box.

  7. Select the paragraph attributes for which you want to search.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Click on Find Next.

Finally, if you use defined styles in your documents, Word has a very powerful search capability that allows you to find not just text, but defined styles, as well. To search for defined styles, use these steps:

  1. Display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (In Word 2007 just press Ctrl+F. In Word 2010 and later versions press Ctrl+F to display the Navigation pane, then click the down arrow at the very right of the Search box in the Navigation pane, and finally choose Advanced Find.)
  2. Make sure the Find What box is empty.
  3. If the More button is available, click on it.
  4. Click on the No Formatting button, if it is enabled.
  5. Click on the Format button and select Style. Word displays the Find Style dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  6. Figure 3. The Find Style dialog box.

  7. Select the paragraph style for which you want to search.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Click on Find Next.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12913) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Searching for Formatting.

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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