How Do I Find and Replace Text in Microsoft Word?

By David Weedmark

Microsoft Word 2013 has an extensive Find and Replace utility that can help streamline the editing process in your documents. Not only can you find all instances of a word, letter or phrase in a document and replace them, you can find text by its font or style. Using wildcards, Find and Replace can make it easy to look for misspelled words or variations of similar words.

Step 1

Click the "Home" menu and click the "Replace" option in the Editing group. The Find icon is for simply finding words when you don't want to replace them. The keyboard shortcut for Replace is "Ctrl-H."

Step 2

Type the word you want to replace in the "Find What" text field and the word you want as a replacement in the "Replace With" text field. To replace one occurrence of the word, click "Replace." Click "Replace All" to replace every occurrence. If you don't necessarily want to replace every instance of a word, click "Next." Word shows you the word so you can decide to click "Replace" or not. To see more options, click the "More" button.

Step 3

Select any of the additional check boxes that could help make your search and replace process faster or more precise. For example, if you were replacing the name "Sue" with "Holly" in a large document, you could select the "Match Case" and "Find Whole Words Only" options to avoid turning "We should sue them over this issue" into "We should holly him over this isholly." Using a wildcard in the search results lets you look for variations of a spelling by inserting a "?" for any letters that may vary, like "s?t" for "sit" or "sat."

Step 4

Click the menu "All" and select either "Up" or "Down" if you want to search only a part of the document. Up and down are both relative to the current location of the cursor.

Step 5

Click the "Format" button to find words that use a specific format, like a font, language or style. For example, if you used a Times New Roman 12-point font for most of your document, but chose to format quotes from other sources in Times New Roman 10 or Calibri, you could find and replace words only in Times New Roman 12, skipping every instance the word appears using the other font.

Step 6

Click the "Special" button to find special characters, including those you don't normally see, such as tabs and paragraph marks. For example, if your document is peppered with double spaces between words, select the "Non-Breaking Space" option. You can then copy it so it appears twice in the "Find What" field and then replace it with a single non-breaking space in the "Replace With" field.