Find and replace text or other items

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Use Microsoft Office Word 2007 to find and replace text, formatting, paragraph breaks, page breaks (page break: The point at which one page ends and another begins. Microsoft Word inserts an "automatic" (or soft) page break for you, or you can force a page break at a specific location by inserting a "manual" (or hard) page break.), and other items. You can also find and replace noun or adjective forms or verb tenses.

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.
  2. In the Find what box, type the text that you want to search for.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To find each instance of a word or phrase, click Find Next.
    • To find all instances of a specific word or phrase at one time, click Find All, and then click Main Document.

 Note   To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.

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Find and replace text

You can automatically replace a word or phrase with another — for example, you can replace Acme with Apex. The replacement text uses the same capitalization as the text that it replaces unless you select the Match case check box. For example, if you search for AKA and replace it with Also known as, the result is ALSO KNOWN AS.

If the Match case check box is selected, Office Word 2007 searches only for words that match the case of the word or phrase that you typed in the Find what box. For example, if you search for AKA, the result includes AKA but not aka.

 Note   If you don't see the Match case check box on the Replace tab, click More.

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

Word Ribbon Image

  1. Click the Replace tab.
  2. In the Find what box, type the text that you want to search for.
  3. In the Replace with box, type the replacement text.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To find the next occurrence of the text, click Find Next.
  1. To replace an occurrence of the text, click Replace. After you click Replace, Office Word 2007 moves to the next occurrence of the text.
  • To replace all occurrences of the text, click Replace All.

 Note   To cancel a replacement in progress, press ESC.

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Find and highlight text on the screen

To help you visually scan a document for every occurrence of a word or phrase, you can search for all occurrences and highlight them on the screen. Although the text is highlighted on the screen, it isn't highlighted when the document is printed.

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

Word Ribbon Image

  1. In the Find what box, type the text that you want to search for.
  2. Click Reading Highlight, and then click Highlight All.

 Note   To turn off highlighting on the screen, click Reading Highlight, and then click Clear Highlighting.

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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.

Word Ribbon Image

  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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Find and replace paragraph breaks, page breaks, and other items

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 Find.

Word Ribbon Image

  1. If you don't see the Special button, click More.
  2. Click Special, and then click the item that you want.
  3. 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.
  4. Click Find Next, Find All, Replace, or Replace All.

To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.

 Tip   To quickly find items such as graphics or comments (comment: A note or annotation that an author or reviewer adds to a document. Microsoft Word displays the comment in a balloon in the margin of the document or in the Reviewing Pane.), click Select Browse Object Button image on the vertical scroll bar, and then click the item that you want. You can click Next Button image or Previous Button image to find the next or previous item of the same type.

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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 Find or Replace.

Word Ribbon Image

  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 ) ^-

Code that works in the Find what box only (when Use wildcards is turned on)

To find Type
Picture or graphic (inline only) ^g

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

To find Type
Any character ^?
Any digit ^#
Any letter ^$
Unicode character ^Unnnn where nnnn is the character code
Picture or graphic (inline only) ^1
Footnote mark ^f or ^2
Endnote mark ^e
Field ^d
Opening field brace (when field codes are visible) ^19
Closing field brace (when field codes are visible) ^21
Comment ^a or ^5
Section break ^b
Em space (Unicode) ^u8195
En space (Unicode) ^u8194
White space ^w (any combination of regular and nonbreaking spaces, and tab characters)

Codes that work in the Replace with box only

To find Type
Microsoft Windows Clipboard contents ^c
Contents of the Find what box ^&

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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.

Word Ribbon Image

  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 2007