Replacing and Renumbering

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 23, 2016)

5

Don has a need to both replace and renumber at the same time. For instance, he has a transcript that contains dialogue. Each statement by "John" starts with his name followed by "XX:", so it looks like this: "JohnXX:". Don would like to replace the first instance of "JohnXX:" with "John001:", the second with "John002:", the third with "John003:", and so on. He wonders if there is a way to do this with Find and Replace.

Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to set up a SEQ field that can do the counting for you. Follow these steps:

  1. Someplace in your document, press Ctrl+F9 to create a set of empty field braces.
  2. Make sure the insertion point is between the field braces.
  3. Type the following between the braces: SEQ John \# "'John'000\:" This is how the field should look:
  4.      { SEQ John \# "'John'000\:" }
    
  5. Press F9 to collapse the field. Word should replace the field with "John001:" (without the quote marks).
  6. Select the field and press Ctrl+X. This removes the field from your document and saves it in the Clipboard.
  7. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  8. In the Find What box, enter what you are search for (JohnXX:).
  9. Click the More button, if it is available.
  10. Make sure the Match Case check box is selected.
  11. In the Replace With box, enter ^c. This informs Word you want to replace whatever is found with the contents of the Clipboard. (See Figure 1.)
  12. Figure 1. Getting ready to do a replacement.

  13. Click Replace All.

When you do this, what you should notice is that your document now has all the JohnXX: text replaced with John001: text. In order to see the right count, you need to update all the fields. The easiest way to do this is to press Ctrl+A (to select the entire document) and then press F9 (to update all the fields).

It helps to understand one thing about your field code, used in step 3. Note that right after the SEQ code there is the word "John." This is actually used as the name for the numbering sequence you are setting up. This could be any other word you want, if you prefer; it is up to you. It also means that you can set up other numbering sequences in your document, if you desire.

For instance, let's say that the transcript is actually a dialog between John and Fred. If all of John's statements start with "JohnXX:", then the above steps would only affect John's statements. Assuming that Fred's statements similarly start with "FredXX:", you could use the same series of steps, but all you would need to do is change the field code in step 3 to this:

{ SEQ Fred \# "'Fred'000\:" }

Further, you would need to change what you are searching for (in step 7) to the prefix used for Fred's transcript statements.

When you are done with all of your finding and replacing, you can, if desired, take the extra step of "unlinking" the fields, which simply means permanently replacing them with their computed value. To do this, simply press Ctrl+A (to again select the entire document) and then press Ctrl+Shift+F9 (to unlink all the fields). Note that you won't want to take this unlinking step if you may need to alter the order of the paragraphs at some future point.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13424) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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

Resetting Menus to Their Default

After a few weeks, months, or years of editing Word's menus, you may forget what the original menus looked like. Don't ...

Discover More

Figuring Out the Low-Score Winner

Need to figure out the lowest score in a range of scores? Here's the formulas to get the information you need.

Discover More

Retrieving Drive Statistics

Need to gather some information about the drives on a system? It can be pretty easy to do using a macro, as shown in this ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Replacing Hidden Text

Word allows you to format text so it can be easily hidden from view and from printing. If you want to convert the hidden text ...

Discover More

Replacing with Plain Text

When using Find and Replace, how your replacements are formatted will depend on how the text being replaced is formatted. ...

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 the ...

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 8Mpixels. 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 three more than 5?

2016-01-25 01:48:41

Alisdair

Brilliant...many thanks!


2016-01-24 12:56:55

Margaret White

This formula does not work for me. Is it limited to certain versions of Word?


2016-01-23 10:59:27

Mary Lu Strange

Thank you for this site. I've already saved hours of frustration using your tips.


2016-01-23 10:18:36

art finkle

When making changes in a 200 page manuscript, the end notes are 'out of quilter.'

How do I enable the end notes to appear in perfect sequnece?


2016-01-23 08:21:09

John

Thanks for this; would be very helpful for interviews. I could easily go to the exact quote needed to confront a witness on cross examination.


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.