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: Searching and Replacing Graphics.

Searching and Replacing Graphics

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 4, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Word allows you to search not just for text, but also for special characters that normally do not print. One of these special characters is a marker indicating where a picture is inserted in your document. To search for graphics, follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click the Find tab.
  3. Click on the More button, if it is available. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The expanded Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Find What box is empty and the cursor is located in the box.
  6. Click on Special, then choose Graphic. Word inserts ^g in the Find What box.
  7. Set other searching parameters, as desired.
  8. Click on Find Next.

Unfortunately, while you can search for graphics, you cannot easily replace one graphic with another. There is a way to work around this, however. You can replace one graphic with another by following these steps:

  1. Click on the new graphic; the one you want to serve as a replacement for the old graphics.
  2. Press Ctrl+C. Word copies the graphic to the Clipboard.
  3. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  4. Click on the More button, if it is available. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The expanded Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Find What box is empty and the cursor is located in the box.
  7. Click on Special, then choose Graphic. Word inserts ^g in the Find What box.
  8. Make sure the Replace With box is empty and the cursor is located in the box.
  9. Click on Special, then choose Clipboard Contents. Word insert ^c in the Replace With box.
  10. Click on the Replace All button.
  11. When the replacements are complete, click on Cancel.

If the graphic you copied in step 2 was originally inserted with the "Link to File" option selected, the graphic inserted by the replace command will also have this attribute. Likewise, if you resize the graphic before performing these steps, the graphic inserted by the replace command will retain the dimensions of the resized graphic.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13276) 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: Searching and Replacing Graphics.

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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