Find and Replace in Word: More Quick Tricks

By | January 16, 2015

In a recent post we looked at using the Find and Replace in Word feature to make your editing more productive. That post was focused on copyediting tasks. In this post, we’ll take a look at how to use the Find and Replace in Word feature to edit your book’s format using styles.

Fast Find & Replace Tricks

Now, let’s back up. Formatting your book using styles is a very important step in creating a professional looking book. Just keep that in mind, and we’ll look in more detail at styles in a future post.

Find and Replace styles

We often think of using the Find and Replace in Word feature to edit text, but you can also do some quick Find and Replace tricks on styles.

Using the More button on the Find and Replace in Word panel, Word allows you to choose formatting and styles.

Find Replace

Search based on style

Let’s say you’ve added a quote at the beginning of every chapter, you applied a style called “quote,” and now you want to italicize it. Well, you could just modify the style; but what if you applied that quote style to quotes within the chapter as well?

Here’s where Find and Replace in Word can help you be more efficient. You can choose the style “quote” in the Find field and then in the Replace field you can change it to the style you want. Word will highlight each instance of that style, so you can click Next until you find a quote you want to edit, then click Replace, move on to the Next until you find another, and so on.

Find ReplaceSearch based on a word

But here’s another Find and Replace in Word trick I use to do the same task, and it’s much quicker.

In the Find field, I enter “chapter”. If you have indeed used the word “chapter” for each chapter heading, this trick will work. Word finds all 25 chapter titles and highlights them.

I click each one, and it takes me to the beginning of that chapter.

I select the quote text just after the chapter heading, and I select my new style from the Styles panel.

Then, in the Find and Replace panel, I click Next and Word takes me to the beginning of the next chapter.

Find and Replace All

Now, what if I thought I had applied that quote style only to quotes, but I wasn’t sure? Perhaps I have forgotten whether I used that quote style for something else in the book.

I use Find and Replace in Word to find that style. When Word highlights all text in that style, I just scroll through the highlighted text in the Find and Replace panel and see if the style is used on anything other than quotes. If not, I click Replace All and I’m done.

Here’s a great article by Tech Republic that shows you how to use Find and Replace in Word to skip often used words during a spell check.

Click Here for a PDF version: Find & Replace Tutorial

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