Deleting Regular Text between Bold Text

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 31, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365

Daniel has a long document that has many instances of bolded words interspersed with non-bolded words. He would like a way to delete all instances of regular text that appears between bolded text. Thus, "bold text with lots of regular text in the middle then more bold text" would be changed to "bold text more bold text." Daniel wonders if this be done with Find and Replace or if it requires a macro.

This can be done with Find and Replace, but you may want to think through if you really want to do it. As asked, it appears that Daniel wants to, effectively, delete all regular (non-bolded) text in the document. For instance, consider the situation where you have (1) bold text, followed by (2) non-bold text, followed by (3) bold text, followed by (4) non-bold text, followed by (5) bold text. You have, in this case, three instances of bold text (1, 3, and 5) separated by two instances of non-bold text (2 and 4). How does this get handled? As written, in Daniel's scenario, the two instances of non-bold text should be removed because they are bounded by bold text. Thus, all of the non-bold text is removed.

Here is how you would handle this in Find and Replace:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Make sure there is nothing in either the Find What or Replace With boxes.
  3. Place the insertion point in the Find What box.
  4. Press Ctrl+B two times. (The first time changes the Find What box to bold and the second time changes it to Not Bold.)
  5. Click Replace All.

There are two gotchas you need to be aware of in doing this, and those gotchas are the reason I said you may want to "think through" if you really want to follow this route. First, since Find and Replace removes all non-bold text in the document, any non-bold text at the very beginning or very end of the document will be removed, even though they are not bounded on both sides by bold text. Second, you may end up with bold text not separated by spaces. This would occur if there were no bold-formatted spaces between two occurrences of bold text.

It is also important to realize that this approach is not discerning when it comes to what is between bolded text. It is very possible that your hard returns at the ends of paragraphs will be deleted, unless they are formatted as bold. This can result in some funky looking text when all is said and done.

If you want something a bit more discerning, then the most prudent approach would be to create a macro that can perform a more detailed analysis of the document and remove only what you actually want removed. Developing such a macro would be dependent on coming up with rules that you want applied to the entire document and then codifying those rules in the macro itself.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13889) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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. ...


Changing Revision Bar Thickness

Ever wonder how to customize the way the Track Changes feature displays revision bars at the side of changed material? ...

Discover More

Reducing File Size

As you work with a workbook (particularly one that contains macros) you may notice that the workbook size can become ...

Discover More

Understanding Decimal Tabs

Word offers a variety of tabs that define different ways to align text. If you need to align numeric values, you'll ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Replacements Use an Incorrect Foreign Language Character

When using Find and Replace, it is possible that you might notice some surprising results when the replacements are done. ...

Discover More

Searching for Optional Hyphens

If you have a document that contains optional hyphens (special characters that mark where a word can be split between ...

Discover More

Making Quoted Text Bold and Underlined

If your document contains quoted text, you might want a way to remove the quotes and format the text in some way. This ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 1 + 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.


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.