Find and replace text and other data in your Word 2010 files

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Use Microsoft Word 2010 to find and replace text, formatting, paragraph breaks, page breaks, and other items.

You can extend your search by using wildcards and codes to find words or phrases that contain specific letters or combinations of letters.

You can also use the Go To command to find a specific place in your document.

What do you want to do?


Find text

You can quickly search for every occurrence of a specific word or phrase.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Find. Or press CTRL+F.

Find command in the Editing group

The Navigation pane opens.

  1. In the Search Document box, type the text that you want to find.
  2. Click a result to see it in your document, or browse through all the results by clicking the Next Search Result and Previous Search Result arrows.

 Note   If you make a change in your document and the search results disappear, click the down arrow in the Navigation pane to view the list of results.

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Find other document elements

To search for a table, a graphic, a comment, a footnote or an endnote, or an equation, do the following:

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Find. Or press CTRL+F.

Find command in the Editing group

The Navigation pane opens.

  1. Click the arrow next to the magnifying glass, and then click the option that you want.

Arrow next to the Search button

  1. Click a result to see it in your document, or browse through all the results by clicking the Next Search Result and Previous Search Result arrows.

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More search options

To find the old Find dialog box, and all of its options, do one of the following:

  • On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the arrow next to Find, and then click Advanced Find.
  • In the Navigation pane, click the arrow next to the magnifying glass, and then click Advanced Find.

 Note    If you just need a basic option, such as Match case, you can click the arrow next to the magnifying glass, and then click Options.

Find and replace text

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Replace.

Replace command in the Editing group

  1. In the Find what box, type the text that you want to search for and replace.
  2. In the Replace with box, type the replacement text.
  3. Click Find Next, and then do one of the following:
  • To replace the highlighted text, click Replace.
  • To replace all instances of the text in your document, click Replace All.
  • To skip this instance of the text and proceed to the next instance, click Find Next.

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Find and replace specific formatting

You can search for and replace or remove character formatting. For example, you can search for a specific word or phrase and change the font color, or you can search for specific formatting, such as bold, and change it.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Replace.

Replace command in the Editing group

  1. If you don't see the Format button, click More.
  2. To search for text with specific formatting, type the text in the Find what box. To find formatting only, leave the box blank.
  3. Click Format, and then select the formats that you want to find and replace.
  4. Click the Replace with box, click Format, and then select the replacement formats.

 Note   If you also want to replace the text, type the replacement text in the Replace with box.

  1. To find and replace each instance of the specified formatting, click Find Next, and then click Replace. To replace all instances of the specified formatting, click Replace All.

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Search by using wildcards to find specific letters

You can use wildcards to search for text. For example, you can use the asterisk (*) wildcard to search for a string of characters (for example, "s*d" finds "sad" and "started").

Use wildcards to find and replace text

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the arrow next to Find, and then click Advanced Find.

Find command in the Editing group

  1. Select the Use wildcards check box.

If you don't see the Use wildcards check box, click More.

  1. Do one of the following:
  2. If you want to replace the item, click the Replace tab, and then type what you want to use as a replacement in the Replace with box.
  3. Click Find Next, Find All, Replace, or Replace All.

To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.

Wildcards for items you want to find and replace

 Notes 

  • When the Use wildcards check box is selected, Word finds only the exact text that you specify. Notice that the Match case and Find whole words only check boxes are unavailable (dimmed) to indicate that these options are automatically turned on. You can't turn off these options.
  • To search for a character that's defined as a wildcard, type a backslash (\) before the character. For example, type \? to find a question mark.
  • You can use parentheses to group the wildcard characters and text and to indicate the order of evaluation. For example, type <(pre)*(ed)> to find "presorted" and "prevented".
  • You can use the \n wildcard to search for an expression and then replace it with the rearranged expression. For example, type (Ashton) (Chris) in the Find what box and \2 \1 in the Replace with box. Word will find Ashton Chris and replace it with Chris Ashton.
To find Type Example
Any single character ? s?t finds sat and set.
Any string of characters * s*d finds sad and started.
The beginning of a word < <(inter) finds interesting and intercept, but not splintered.
The end of a word > (in)> finds in and within, but not interesting.
One of the specified characters [ ] w[io]n finds win and won.
Any single character in this range [-] [r-t]ight finds right and sight. Ranges must be in ascending order.
Any single character except the characters in the range inside the brackets [!x-z] t[!a-m]ck finds tock and tuck, but not tack or tick.
Exactly n occurrences of the previous character or expression {n} fe{2}d finds feed but not fed.
At least n occurrences of the previous character or expression {n,} fe{1,}d finds fed and feed.
From n to m occurrences of the previous character or expression {n,m} 10{1,3} finds 10, 100, and 1000.
One or more occurrences of the previous character or expression @ lo@t finds lot and loot.

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Use codes to find letters, formatting, fields, or special characters

Use the following codes to find letters, formatting, fields, or special characters. Note that some codes work only if the Use wildcards option is turned on or off.

Codes that work in the Find what box or Replace with box

To find Type
Paragraph mark (Paragraph mark ) ^p (doesn't work in the Find what box when the Use wildcards option is turned on), or ^13
Tab character (Tab character ) ^t or ^9
ASCII character ^nnn, where nnn is the character code.
ANSI character ^0nnn, where 0 is zero and nnn is the character code
Em dash ( — ) ^+
En dash ( – ) ^=
Caret character ^^
Manual line break (Manual line break ) ^l or ^11
Column break ^n or ^14
Page or section break ^12 (when replacing, inserts a page break)
Manual page break ^m (also finds or replaces section breaks when the Use wildcards option is turned on)
Nonbreaking space (Nonbreaking space ) ^s
Nonbreaking hyphen (Nonbreaking hyphen ) ^~
Optional hyphen (Optional hyphen ) ^-

Codes that work in the Find what box only (when Use wildcards is turned off)

To find Type
Any character ^?
Any digit ^#
Any letter ^$
Picture or graphic (inline only) ^g
Footnote mark ^f or ^2
Endnote mark ^e
Field (when field codes are visible) ^d or ^19 or ^21
Comment (when comments are inline) ^a or ^5
Section break ^b
White space ^w (any space or any combination of regular and nonbreaking spaces, and tab characters)

Code that works in the Replace with box only

To find Type
Microsoft Windows Clipboard contents ^c

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Go to a specific page, table, or other item

You can search for and replace special characters and document elements such as tabs and manual page breaks. For example, you can find all double paragraph breaks and replace them with single paragraph breaks.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the arrow next to Find, and then click Go To.

Go To command in the Editing group

  1. In the Go to what box, click the type of item.
  2. Do one of the following:
  • To go to a specific item, type the appropriate identifying information for the item in the Enter item type box, and then click Go To.
  • To go to the next or previous item of the specified type, leave the Enter box empty, and then click Next or Previous.

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Applies to:
Word 2010