Month: January 2019

Microsoft Word: Find and Replace on Steroids

What do you need to know to pump up the Find and Replace features in Microsoft Word to save time and avoid tedious manual editing?

Replacing Formatting
Replacing Special Characters
How to Remove Something Completely
Quick Look at the Basics

Although your options to Find and Replace text and special characters in Microsoft Word are more robust than the other members of the Office suite, the basics to get started are the same for each program.

Keyboard shortcuts to Find and Replace:
Find = [Ctrl] + F
Replace = [Ctrl] + H
Find or Replace commands are also found at:
Microsoft Office 2010/2007 = Home tab > Editing group
Earlier versions of Microsoft Office = Edit menu

Once you open the dialog box to Find or Replace, let’s assume that you are comfortable with the basics to find or replace simple text. What else can you do to be more productive editing your documents?

Quick Tip: Save your documents before launching a Replace command because you’re making many changes at one time.

Replace Formatting

Searching for and replacing instances of a particular font, font size or font style is merely a matter of opening up the Replace dialog box. Next, click the More>> button to display some extra options, and then choose the appropriate selection from the Format drop-down list, which includes Font, Paragraph, and Tabs.

As an example, what if you want to find all occurrences of “important” and color them red? You could do a standard Find command, stopping each time the word is found to apply the color manually but you know there is a more natural way. If you wish to replace all of the instances of a particular word in the document with a formatted version of itself, the first step is to type the word you want to format into the Find what text box.Next, type the same word into the Replace with box and click on the Format button to bring up a drop-down list. From this list, select Font and then choose the desired color for the replacement text (in our example, red). Then close the dialog. Notice the formatting choices displayed immediately below the text entry in the text boxes.

Now click the Find Next, Replace or Replace All buttons depending on how you want to control the results.

You’re not limited to finding a particular word or phrase combined with formatting options – you can leave the Find what blank and only choose formatting attributes. For example, going Find what blank and choosing the italics formatting will find all text that is italicized. Use this to replace unwanted formatting – for example, replacing all italics with bold or a different font style instead.

Quick Tip: To continue with a new Find or Replace action, first clear the previous formatting choices for each text box entry with a simple click on the No Formatting button. This button is only available if a formatting choice is selected.

Replace Special Characters Using Wildcards