Q. I’m looking forward to reading more of the Find and Replace uses in Microsoft Word.
A. In my last two columns, I started enumerating ten ways you can use the Find and Replace feature in Word. The list continues here:
Use a trick to replace a long text string
The Find What and Replace With controls are limited to 255 characters. When the replace string is longer, copy it to the Clipboard and use the ^c as follows:
1. Press [Ctrl]+H.
2. In the Find What control, enter the text or code to find the content you’re replacing. Don’t forget about wildcards.
3. In the Replace With control, enter ^c.
4. Click Replace All.
This technique will replace the find text with the contents of the Clipboard. Unfortunately, the ^c code doesn’t work in the Find What control.
Using Find and Replace, you can quickly transpose data. For instance, you might need to transpose a list of names in first name, last name format into last name, first name format. Here’s how to do it:
1. Select the list.
2. Press [Ctrl]+H.
3. In the Find What control, enter (<*>) (<*>) (Note: There’s a space between the two wildcard sets).
4. In the Replace With control, enter \2, \1 (with a space between the two wildcard sets).
5. Click the More button and check the Use Wildcards option.
6. Click Replace All.
Here’s how the wildcard components work:
- The brackets (<>) denote the beginning and ending of a word or phrase.
- The * character refers to any characters.
- The parentheses indicate a pattern.
- The slash (\) replaces characters, and the number after it indicates the position of a bracketed component.
Insert special characters
Sometimes you need to insert special characters into a document. For instance, you might want to insert a nonbreaking space between parts of a company or person’s name. If there are only a few instances of the name and the document is short, you can achieve this manually with little trouble. Otherwise, using Find and Replace might be a better choice:
1. Press [Ctrl]+H.
2. In the Find What control, enter the find text.
3. In the Replace With control, enter the same text, but instead of entering spaces by pressing the Spacebar, press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+Spacebar. You can’t tell the spaces apart, but they’re different.
4. Click Replace All