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

Replacing with a Subscript

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 18, 2021)

Arie needs to replace one name with another for several thousand occasions in hundreds of documents. The new name has a subscript character in it, like 'TO2', where the '2' is in subscript. Arie notes that it doesn't seem possible to put this into the standard Find and Replace function in Word but doesn't look forward to doing the replacements by hand.

Actually, there are a couple of ways you can approach this issue; you should pick the one that is easiest to remember and that fits best with the way you normally work.

The first approach is to do a two-step replacement. Replace the original text with something like "TO++2++". The idea is to make sure that you surround the "2" (the part that will eventually be subscripted) with a sequence of characters that won't be elsewhere in your document. Then, do a replace operation search for "++2++" and replace it with a subscripted "2".

The second approach is easier still; it allows you to do the replacement in a single pass. Follow these general steps:

  1. Type "TO2" and apply the subscript format to the appropriate character (the "2").
  2. Select only the properly formatted text (all three characters, TO and the subscripted 2) and press Ctrl+X. This removes the text from the document and places it in the Clipboard.
  3. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  4. In the Find What box place whatever text you are searching for.
  5. In the Replace With box enter the characters ^c. (Make sure you use a lowercase c after the caret.) This informs Word that you want to replace any instances of the Find What text with whatever is in the Clipboard (your properly formatted text).
  6. Click Replace All.

Word dutifully replaces the original text with the properly formatted TO2 text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13242) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Replacing with a Subscript.

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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