When working in Microsoft Word, we frequently need to alter one or two words to make the file relevant to a different client or project—for instance, updating a company’s name in a lengthy contract booklet or updating a company’s or client’s address in a briefing document.
Because altering each word manually while scrolling through your text would be a tiresome and time-consuming operation, Microsoft has included a handy tool called ‘Find and Replace.’
With just one click, you can replace one word with another across the entire contents of your Microsoft Word document.
There is no restraint to using this tool, but it must be done word by word; we cannot currently find and replace multiple words simultaneously. Still, it’s a tremendous time-saver and ensures you don’t miss a word that needs to be replaced.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use Microsoft Word’s Find and Replace feature, which will allow you to update your document in seconds.
When to Use Microsoft Word’s Find and Replace Function
The entire goal of Microsoft Word’s Find and Replace function is to allow users to search for target text – whether it’s a specific word, a style of formatting, or a string of wildcard characters – and replace it with whatever they want.
Typically, the following are the reasons why you should use this feature:
• When you want your document to be entirely consistent.
• When you need to expedite typing and formatting operations.
• When you make a last-minute mistake and want to find and replace it.
• When you’re writing a document that has words with different spellings. For example, if you usually use US English but are typing a document in UK English, the Find and Replace feature would be extremely useful in identifying and correcting spelling issues.
• Adding unique characters to words
• rephrasing and rephrasing fragmentary words and phrases
• Correcting terms that you may have misspelt in haste. For example, if you write “h?t” instead of “hat” and activate Use wildcards, it will be highlighted in your search results.
• Removing extraneous gaps
• Modifying the number separator character
• Currency sign reversal
How to find and replace in word
The Navigation pane can search for certain words or phrases within a document.
1. On the Home tab, click Find.
The Results view is displayed in the Navigation pane on the left.
Ctrl + F will be pressed.
2. In the Navigation pane, click the Search document box and type the text you wish to find.
The search is carried out automatically. The document highlights the results, and the Navigation pane lists all instances of the word.
3. Click a search result to go to that page in the document.
You may navigate to the Previous or Next search result using the arrows beneath the search field.
When you’re finished, click Close. The Navigation pane has been closed.
Use Advanced Find to search your papers for more specific items, such as certain capitalization or only full words.
1. Select the Find button from the list by clicking the arrow.
2. Choose Advanced Find.
The Find and Replace dialogue box is displayed.
3. In the Find box, type the word you’re looking for.
The Find and Replace dialogue box, by default, displays the essentials—a search field. If you enlarge the dialog box, you will see more possibilities.
4. Select the More option.
The advanced options allow you to choose how to search.
5. Double-check the advanced criteria you intend to employ.
You can search for terms that perfectly fit the case or merely for full words. You can also utilize wildcards, as well as disregard punctuation and spacing.
6. Select Find Next.
The word goes to the next instance that meets the additional criteria and selects it.
When you’re finished, click Close.
The Find and Replace dialog box is dismissed.
If you’ve misspelt anything in several places, Word can fix it all in a few steps.
1. On the Home tab, click Replace.
Then the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box appears.
2. In the Find what text section, type the term you want to change.
3. In the Replace with a text field, type the term you want to replace.
4. Choose a substitute alternative.
• Replace: This replaces the first occurrence of the word. Continue to click to repair them one at a time.
• Replace All: Replaces all appearances of the word at once.
When you’ve replaced all term instances, a dialog box will appear to let you know it’s finished.
5. Select OK.
When you’re finished, click Close. The Find and Replace dialog box is dismissed.
Find and Replace Caution
There are numerous advantages to using Word’s Find and Replace tool. The default settings for Find and Replace looks for character combinations rather than words.
For example, if you Replace All ‘van’ in your text, the word ‘van’ in the phrase ‘Advanced’ would be replaced as well, which is NOT desirable for most pieces of writing.
Punctuation and capitalization must also be integrated into the search if you use the default options.
For example, the search query ‘Therefore it was’ without punctuation vs the identical question with punctuation ‘Therefore, it was’ will provide different results.
Similarly, capitalizations might have an impact on your search results. Searching for ‘Hello’ versus ‘hello’ will yield different results. The good thing is, you can adjust the Find and Replace settings to recognize words rather than characters or to include punctuation and capitalization by clicking More >> in the Find and Replace Dialog box.
Use Caret Codes or Keyboard Shortcuts
Using a keyboard shortcut or a caret code, you can input fifteen special characters into the Find and Replace dialog box:
• em dash
• en dash
• A non-breaking hyphen
• Optional hyphenation
• Non-interfering space
• The copyright symbol
• Registered logo
• Section descriptor
• Symbol for paragraphs
• A single opening quotation
• A single concluding quotation
• Two opening quotations
• Two concluding quotations
The keyboard keys and caret codes for finding and replacing the special characters indicated above are listed in the table below. A keyboard shortcut and a caret code are available for several unique characters.
Using keyboard shortcuts or caret codes, insert special characters as follows:
1. In the ribbon, select the Home tab.
2. In the Editing group, choose Replace.
3. In the Find what text box, enter the keyboard shortcut or caret code.
4. In “Replace with text box”, type the replacement character.
5. Click the Replace, Replace All, or Find Next option to proceed.
6. To exit/close the Find and Replace dialog box, click the Close button.
Find and Replace Shortcut Mac
Note that this may or may not work depending on your Mac model. The find and replace shortcut on Mac is: Ctrl+F for Find; Ctrl+H for Find and Replace