Troubleshoot finding and replacing text or other items

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Word doesn't find the item I'm searching for

Use the following tips to make sure you've correctly specified the search text or formatting. On the Edit menu, click Find or Replace, click More, and then specify the text or formatting in the Find what box.

Word doesn't find or replace some graphics or objects

Microsoft Word can't find or replace floating objects (floating object: A graphic or other object that is inserted in the drawing layer so that you can position it precisely on the page or in front of or behind text or other objects.), WordArt (WordArt: Text objects you create with ready-made effects to which you can apply additional formatting options.) text effects, watermarks (watermark: A semi-transparent image often used for letters and business cards. In currency, a watermark is visible when you hold a bill up to the light.), and drawing objects (drawing object: Any graphic you draw or insert, which can be changed and enhanced. Drawing objects include AutoShapes, curves, lines, and WordArt.). However, if you change a floating object to an inline object (inline object: A graphic or other object that is positioned directly in the text of a Microsoft Word document at the insertion point.), you can find and replace it.

When I use wildcards, Word doesn't find certain text

To use wildcard characters, click Find or Replace on the Edit menu, click More, and then select the Use wildcards check box. If Microsoft Word doesn't find certain text, try the following solution:

  • Specify the exact capitalization. When you use wildcards, the search text is case sensitive. For example, a search for s*t will find "sat" but not "Sat" or "SAT". If you want to search for any combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, use the square brackets wildcard. For example, type [Ss]*[Tt] to find "sat", "Sat", or "SAT".

When I use wildcards, Word can't search for certain items

When the Use wildcards check box is selected, Microsoft Word doesn't recognize the codes you enter in the Find what box for the following items: endnote and footnote marks, fields (field: A set of codes that instructs Microsoft Word to insert text, graphics, page numbers, and other material into a document automatically. For example, the DATE field inserts the current date.), paragraph marks (paragraph mark: The nonprinting symbol that Microsoft Word inserts when you press ENTER to end a paragraph. The paragraph mark stores the formatting you apply to the paragraph.), section breaks (section break: A mark you insert to show the end of a section. A section break stores the section formatting elements, such as the margins, page orientation, headers and footers, and sequence of page numbers.), or white space. To search for these items, you can type the following substitute codes in the Find what box. (Note that no substitute code is available for fields.)

To find a footnote mark or end note mark

Type ^2

Note that Word can't distinguish between footnote and endnote marks.

To find a paragraph mark

Type ^13

To find a section break

Type ^12

Word will search for manual page breaks as well as section breaks.

To find white space

Type space {1,}

Applies to:
Word 2003