Search and Replace Options in Word

Tech Tips for Tuesday

You have a Word document in front of you which desperately needs some editing. The author has written about string instruments and a musician named Viola, and this author can’t spell. To make matters worse, there is a lot of French sprinkled in for effect.
One troublesome sentence among many: “Voila Vanderhoff switched from bass vile to voila and voila! — the violent vilinists stopped reviolting!” You want to fix these errors throughout the document without breaking the occasional correctly spelled word.
Microsoft Word and Excel have the power to pick delicately through specific strings of characters when doing global edits. Press Ctl-H (the standard Search-and-Replace shortcut), and look at the options.
Match case: fix Viola’s name only, without touching any lowercase words.
Use wildcards: type “vilinist*” (with an asterisk) in the Find field to fix plural and singular words in one search
Find whole words only: fix “reviolting” without breaking “violent”
You can also include the space character in “bass vile” in your Find, to leave all the correct uses of “vile” intact. Likewise,including the exclamation mark in your search for “voila!” will allow you to include the missing accent mark without breaking all the correct spellings of the musical instrument viola and the musician Viola.
Et voilà!
2013.12
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