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: Replacing a Colon in a Sequence.

Replacing a Colon in a Sequence

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 14, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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

Creating Oval Pictures

A couple of ways to create oval shaped pictures in a Word document.

Discover More

Custom Formats for Scientific Notation

Excel allows you to format your numeric values in a wide variety of ways. One such formatting option is to display ...

Discover More

Using Search Text in the Replacement

When you use the Find and Replace tool in Word, you may want to include what you searched for in the replacement text. ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Finding and Replacing Text Boxes

The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are very powerful, but they still come up a bit short when searching for some ...

Discover More

Easily Spotting Found Text

The color used by Word to draw your attention to "found text" when using Find and Replace can vary, based on a number of ...

Discover More

Replacing the Space between the Last Two Words of Each Paragraph

Some replacement tasks can seem daunting, but Word provides some great tools for making just about any replacement you ...

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}] (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 five more than 6?

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.

Videos
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.