Search and Replace Word Formatting

Update: Oct 6th, 2009

- by Athul N. Ravunniarath

Did you know that in Microsoft Word, it is possible to do a search and replace on the formatting of text? For example, say that you’ve been given a bibliography that has the entire book titles in bold, but proper form is for book titles to be in italics. Using the search and replace function, it’s easy to change all of the bold text to italics in one fell swoop.

  1. Highlight the section of text to be affected (if not the whole document).
  2. Bring up the search and replace tool (Ctrl+H).
  3. Click on the More button to reveal the formatting options.
  4. Click in the Find What box, so that it has focus (there should be a flashing cursor there).
  5. Click on the Format button, and select Font…
  6. Select Bold (or whatever format you’re trying to change from).
  7. Click in the Replace With box, so that it now has focus.
  8. Click on the Format button, and again select Font…
  9. Select Italics (or whatever format you’re trying to change to).
  10. Click on Replace All

Changing fonts is just the tip of the iceberg. This technique can be used with any sort of formatting (paragraphs, styles, etc.)  Also, be sure to click on the Special button to see the options that are available there (Any Digit, Any Letter, etc.)  These wildcards and special symbols (along with plain text) can be used in combination with the formatting criteria.  For example, it’s possible to change all negative numbers to red this way, by specifying the Find What as a minus sign followed by the Any Digit notation and by specifying the Replace With as nothing but with a font color of red.

cautiongrayThis post is for informational purposes only. The technologies and services discussed are not officially endorsed or supported by the Colby College Information Technology Services department. Colby account holders should review the College’s Information and Data Security Policy and Best Practices guidelines, especially as they pertain to the handling of sensitive data.
  1. MS Office Tip « The Colby "Stu"
    Oct 6th, 2009 at 20:10
    #1
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