Making Quoted Text Bold and Underlined

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 24, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


1

Bill wonders if there is a way to search a document for words in quotes and (1) get rid of the quote marks and (2) make the words within the quote marks bold and underlined. For his purposes this would be useful for documents that currently use quotes around defined terms.

Actually, you can do this type of find-and-replace operation using wild cards, but performing the task can be a bit trickier than you might think at first. First, let's look at the easiest way to do the replacement:

  1. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click the More button, if it is visible.
  3. Make sure the Use Wildcards check box is selected.
  4. In the Find What box, enter "(*)". Make sure, in this case, that you include the quote marks.
  5. In the Replace With box, enter " \1" (this time without the quote marks). This tells Word to use, as replacement text, the first occurrence of text within parentheses in the pattern denoted in step 4.
  6. With the insertion point still in the Replace With box, press Ctrl+B. This tells Word that you want the replacement text to be formatted as bold.
  7. With the insertion point still in the Replace With box, press Ctrl+U. This tells Word that you want the replacement text to be underlined.
  8. Click on Replace All.
  9. Close the Find and Replace dialog box.

Simple, right? Well, this is where the "bit trickier" part of things comes into play. If you've been using Word for any length of time, you probably know that Word can use either straight quotes or what Microsoft calls "smart quotes." (Some people refer to smart quotes as curly quotes—they aren't straight up and down; they curl inward, toward the text being quoted.)

If your document uses straight quotes, then the steps noted above will work great. If, however, your document uses smart quotes, then it won't. This is because when you do a wildcard find-and-replace (step 3), Word differentiates between straight quotes and smart quotes when matching text. The solution, if your document uses smart quotes, is to change step 4:

  • In the Find What box, enter "^0147(*)^0148" (without the quote marks).
  • The special characters in the Find What pattern, ^0147 and ^0148, will match to an opening smart quote and a closing smart quote, respectively. This will do what Bill wants in the case where smart quotes are used.

    There is one other possibility that must be addressed—a case where a document has a mixture of straight quotes and smart quotes. In that case, either of the approaches detailed above will give uneven results. Think of a situation where a smart quote starts your quoted text but a straight quote is at the end of it (or vice versa). This is a very real possibility if your document has been worked on by multiple people.

    In that case, the best solution is to change all your straight quotes to smart quotes before doing the steps outlined above. To make this change, you can also use Find and Replace, as described in the following WordTip:

    https://tips.net/T9448
    

    Once the conversion to smart quotes is completed, then you can do the Find and Replace operation to strip off those smart quotes and make the enclosed text bold and underlined.

    WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12984) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

    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 more than 0?

    2024-02-22 11:39:20

    henry

    very useful


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