Find and replace text or other items

Important notice for users of Office 2003    To continue receiving security updates for Office, make sure you're running Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (SP3). The support for Office 2003 ends April 8, 2014. If you’re running Office 2003 after support ends, to receive all important security updates for Office, you need to upgrade to a later version such as Office 365 or Office 2013. For more information, see Support is ending for Office 2003.

Try Office 2010 In Word 2010, you use the new Navigation pane to search a document.
Read an article or try Office 2010

Some of the content in this topic may not be applicable to some languages.

Use Microsoft Word to find and replace text, formatting, paragraph marks, 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 extend your search by using wildcards and codes.

Find text

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

  1. On the Edit menu, click Find.
  2. In the Find what box, enter the text that you want to search for.
  3. Select any other options that you want.

To select all instances of a specific word or phrase at once, select the Highlight all items found in check box, and then select which portion of the document you want to search in by clicking in the Highlight all items found in list.

  1. Click Find Next or Find All.

To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.

Replace text

You can automatically replace text — for example, you can replace "Acme" with "Apex."

  1. On the Edit menu, click Replace.
  2. In the Find what box, enter the text that you want to search for.
  3. In the Replace with box, enter the replacement text.
  4. Select any other options that you want.
  5. Click Find Next, Replace, or Replace All.

To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.

Find and replace specific formatting

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

  1. On the Edit menu, click Find.
  2. If you don't see the Format button, click More.
  3. In the Find what box, do one of the following:
    • To search for text without specific formatting, enter the text.
    • To search for text with specific formatting, enter the text, click Format, and then select the formats you want.
    • To search for specific formatting only, delete any text, click Format, and then select the formats you want.
  4. Select the Highlight all items found in check box to find all instances of the word or phrase, and then select which portion of the document you want to search in by clicking in the Highlight all items found in list.
  5. Click Find All.

All instances of the word or phrase are highlighted.

  1. Click Close.
  2. On the Formatting toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.), click buttons to make changes. For example, select a different font color, click Bold Button image, and then click Italic Button image.

The changes you make are applied to all the highlighted text.

  1. Click anywhere in the document to remove highlighting from the text.

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

You can easily search for and replace special characters and document elements such as page breaks and tabs.

  1. On the Edit menu, click Find or Replace.
  2. If you don't see the Special button, click More.
  3. In the Find what box, do one of the following:
    • To choose the item from a list, click Special, and then click the item you want.
    • Type a code for the item directly in the Find what box.
  4. If you want to replace the item, enter what you want to use as a replacement in the Replace with box.
  5. Click Find Next, Replace, or Replace All.

To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.

Tip

For a quick way to 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 you want. You can click Next Button image or Previous Button image to find the next or previous item of the same type.

Find and replace noun or adjective forms or verb tenses

You can search for:

Singular and plural noun forms

For example, replace "apple" with "orange" at the same time that you replace "apples" with "oranges".

All adjective forms

For example, replace "worse" with "better" at the same time that you replace "worst" with "best".

All tenses of a root verb

For example, replace "sit" with "stand" at the same time that you replace "sat" with "stood".

  1. On the Edit menu, click Find or Replace.
  2. If you don't see the Find all word forms check box, click More.
  3. Select the Find all word forms check box.
  4. In the Find what box, enter the text you want to find.
  5. If you want to replace the text, enter the replacement text in the Replace with box.
  6. Click Find Next, Replace, or Replace All.
  7. If the replacement text is ambiguous, click the word that best matches the meaning you want.

For example, "saw" can be both a noun and a verb; click "saws" to replace nouns, or click "sawing" to replace verbs.

To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.


 Notes 

  • If you're replacing text, it's a good idea to click Replace instead of Replace All; that way, you can confirm each replacement to make sure it's correct.
  • Use the same part of speech and tense for both the search and replacement text. For example, search for "see" and replace it with "observe" (both are verbs in the present tense).

Search by using wildcards

Use wildcards to find and replace

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

  1. On the Edit menu, click Find or Replace.
  2. If you don't see the Use wildcards check box, click More.
  3. Select the Use wildcards check box.
  4. Enter a wildcard character in the Find What box. Do one of the following:
    • To choose a wildcard character from a list, click Special, click a wildcard character, and then type any additional text in the Find what box.
    • Type a wildcard character directly in the Find what box.
  5. If you want to replace the item, enter what you want to use as a replacement in the Replace with box.
  6. Click Find Next, Replace, or Replace All.

To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.


 Notes 

  • When the Use wildcards check box is selected, Word finds only the exact text you specify. (Notice that the Match case and Find whole words only check boxes are unavailable (dimmed) to indicate that these options are automatically 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.

Wildcards for items you want to find and replace

To find:

Any single character

Type ?

For example, s?t finds "sat" and "set".

Any string of characters

Type *

For example, s*d finds "sad" and "started".

The beginning of a word

Type <

For example, <(inter) finds "interesting" and "intercept", but not "splintered".

The end of a word

Type >

For example, (in)> finds "in" and "within", but not "interesting".

One of the specified characters

Type [ ]

For example, w[io]n finds "win" and "won".

Any single character in this range

Type [-]

For example, [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

Type [!x-z]

For example, t[!a-m]ck finds "tock" and "tuck", but not "tack" or "tick".

Exactly n occurrences of the previous character or expression

Type {n}

For example, fe{2}d finds "feed" but not "fed".

At least n occurrences of the previous character or expression

Type {n,}

For example, fe{1,}d finds "fed" and "feed".

From n to m occurrences of the previous character or expression

Type {n,m}

For example, 10{1,3} finds "10", "100", and "1000".

One or more occurrences of the previous character or expression

Type @

For example, lo@t finds "lot" and "loot".


 Notes 

  • 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".

Search by using codes

Use codes to find and replace

  1. On the Edit menu, click Find or Replace.
  2. If you don't see the Special button, click More.
  3. Enter a code in the Find What box. Do one of the following:
    • To choose a code from a list, click Special, click a character, and then type any additional text in the Find what box.
    • Type a code directly in the Find what box.

For example, type ^p to find a paragraph mark.

  1. If you want to replace the item, enter what you want to use as a replacement in the Replace with box.
  2. Click Find Next, Replace, or Replace All.

To cancel a search in progress, press ESC.

Codes for items you want to find and replace

As specified, some codes work only if the Use wildcards option is on or off.

Codes that work in the Find what or Replace with box

To specify:

Paragraph mark (Paragraph mark )

Type ^p (doesn’t work in the Find what box when wildcards are on) or type ^13

Tab character (Tab character )

Type ^t or type ^9

ASCII character

Type ^nnn, where nnn is the character code

ANSI character

Type ^0nnn, where 0 is zero and nnn is the character code

Em dash ( — )

Type ^+

En dash ( – )

Type ^=

Caret character

Type ^^

Manual line break (Manual line break )

Type ^l or type ^11

Column break

Type ^n or type ^14

Page or section break

Type ^12 (when replacing, inserts a page break)

Manual page break

Type ^m (also finds or replaces section breaks when wildcards are on)

Nonbreaking space (Nonbreaking space )

Type ^s

Nonbreaking hyphen (Nonbreaking hypen )

Type ^~

Optional hyphen (Optional hyphen )

Type ^-

Code that works in the Find what box only (when wildcards are on)

Picture or graphic (inline only)

Type ^g

Codes that work in the Find what box only (when wildcards are off)

Any character

Type ^?

Any digit

Type ^#

Any letter

Type ^$

Unicode character

Type ^Unnnn where nnnn is the character code

Picture or graphic (inline only)

Type ^1

Footnote mark

Type ^f or type ^2

Endnote mark

Type ^e

Field

Type ^d

Opening field brace (when field codes are visible)

Type ^19

Closing field brace (when field codes are visible)

Type ^21

Comment

Type ^a or type ^5

Section break

Type ^b

Em space (Unicode)

Type ^u8195

En space (Unicode)

Type ^u8194

White space

Type ^w (any combination of regular and nonbreaking spaces, and tab characters)

Codes that work in the Replace with box only

Windows Clipboard contents

Type ^c

Contents of the Find what box

Type ^&


 Notes 

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003