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


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:

    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. ...


    Applying Consistent Shading to a Table

    Formatting tables can be very time consuming. When you get a document from another person, you can spend a lot of time ...

    Discover More

    Where Is that Text?

    Looking for a formula that can return the address of a cell containing a text string? Look no further; the solution is in ...

    Discover More

    Looking Backward through a Data Table

    Sometimes you need to look backward, through the information above your formula, to find the data you need. This can be ...

    Discover More

    Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

    More WordTips (ribbon)

    Making Ctrl+F Work Traditionally

    One change introduced in Word 2010 was the new navigation pane that is used for simple searching of information. This ...

    Discover More

    When Replace Doesn't Work

    Find and Replace is a great tool, but what are you to do if your find or replace doesn't work as you expect? This tip ...

    Discover More

    Changing the Formatting of All Instances of a Word

    Need to find all the instances of a particular word and change the formatting of those instances? It's easy to do using ...

    Discover More

    FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

    View most recent newsletter.


    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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 one more than 0?

    2024-02-22 11:39:20


    very useful

    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.


    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.