Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Replacing a Colon in a Sequence.

Replacing a Colon in a Sequence

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 9, 2014)

Anthony wants to use Find and Replace to change a right parenthesis followed by a colon and a digit to a right parenthesis followed by a comma and the letters pp. For instance, "):27" should be changed to "), pp. 27".

One might think that you could simply search for a right parenthesis followed by a colon and replace it with "), pp. ", but that won't work. Actually, it will work, but it might work too well—there could be instances where you have a grammatically correct right parenthesis followed by a colon that you don't want replaced. As mentioned, you only want to replace instances where the colon is followed by a page number.

The best way to do this is through the use of a wildcard search. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click the More button, if it is available.
  3. Make sure the Use Wildcards radio button or check box is selected.
  4. With the insertion point in the Find What box, click No Formatting (if it is available) and enter the following: (\):)([0-9]{1,3})
  5. In the Replace With box, click No Formatting (if it is available) and enter the following: ), pp. \2
  6. Click Replace All.

Step 4 is the important part; it defines what you want Word to find. In this case you want to find a right parenthesis, indicated by \), followed by a colon and anywhere from 1 to 3 digits. Note that in the Find What pattern there are parentheses around two separate groups of items: around the right parenthesis and colon and around the digits. The second of these groupings (the digits) are referenced in the Replace With pattern with the \2 element.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13204) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Replacing a Colon in a Sequence.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adjusting Column Widths on Joined Tables

Each table in a document can have different numbers of columns and different widths for columns. If you want to join two ...

Discover More

Shading Rows with Conditional Formatting

If you need to shade alternating rows in a data table, you'll want to examine how you can accomplish the task with ...

Discover More

Averaging the Last Numbers in a Column

Need to calculate a running average for the last twelve values in a constantly changing range of values? The formula ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Searching for Footnote and Endnote Marks

Do you want to quickly search for any footnote or endnote marks in your document? Word makes it easy using the standard Find ...

Discover More

Easily Finding Superscripts

Word has a powerful Find and Replace capability, but sometimes it can be tricky to figure out exactly how to use it. Here are ...

Discover More

Special Differences when Searching

Word includes two different search engines. Which search engine you choose to use will dictate what Word shows as available ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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}] 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 two more than 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

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.