How to find and replace in Google Docs

The find and replace option is one of the most useful functions in Google Docs. The find function allows you to search for certain words or phrases in your document. For example, you can use it to search for the word ‘article.’ 

The replace function allows you to replace a word or phrase you found with another word or phrase. For example, you can replace the word ‘article’ with ‘articles.’ You also have the option of replacing all instances of a particular word. For example, you can replace every ‘article’ in your document with ‘articles.’ 

You also have other options for customizing the replacements. For instance, you can choose to match the case (upper or lower case) of your word. This is highly convenient as you don’t have to manually search for and replace words. 

2 methods of using find and replace in Google Docs: 

  • The keyboard shortcuts for find and replace
  • Using find and replace from the ‘Edit’ menu 

Note that this article is intended for complete beginners. Hence, you can follow along even if you have little to no experience with Google Docs. 

With that introduction, let’s learn the steps for the methods. 


Method 1: The keyboard shortcuts for find and replace 

The first method involves using keyboard shortcuts for find and replace. There are different keyboard shortcuts that make it easy for you to use this function. 

The benefit of this method is that it is highly convenient to use. Therefore, it saves you time and effort. We would recommend that you use this method for finding and replacing words in your Google Docs document. 

Below are the steps for this method. 

Step 1: Open your Google Docs document. 

The first step is to open the Google Docs document in which you would like to use the find and replace function. To do this, type docs.google.com in your browser’s search bar, then press Enter (or Return if you are using a Mac). This will take you to the Google Docs homepage. Make sure that you are first signed in to your Google account. Otherwise, you will not be able to see the homepage.

Once you are on the Google Docs homepage, you can open a new file. You can either create a new document or select an existing one. 

To create a new blank document, click on the plus sign at the top of the screen. You can also type docs.new in the search bar of your browser and press Enter or Return. This will open a new tab with the blank Google Docs document. 

You can also create a new document by selecting one of the templates from the template gallery. Google Docs gives you many options for templates: reports, resumes, class notes, etc.

If you want to open an existing document, just select a file under ‘Recent documents’. This will open the file in a new tab. 

Step 2: Decide the word you would like to search for (and replace).

Next, choose the word you would like to find in your document. If applicable, choose the word you would like to replace it with. 

Step 3.1: Press Control (or Command, if you’re using a Mac) + F. 

The shortcut for finding words in Google Docs is Control (or Command, if you’re a Mac user) + F. Press this combination of keys on your keyboard. A small dialog box will appear in the top right corner of the screen. 

Step 3.2: Press Control (or Command, if you are using a Mac) and G. 

There is another keyboard shortcut for finding words and phrases on your screen. This is by using the Command (or Control, for Mac users) and G keys. Press these keys at the same time to open the Find dialog box at the top right corner of the screen. 

There is a difference between this keyboard shortcut and the previous one. The previous one (Control/Command + F) is the keyboard shortcut for Google Docs. This one (Control/Command + G) is the keyboard shortcut for your web browser. 

Note that sometimes, the Control/Command + G shortcut works only after you use the Control/Command + F shortcut. This is a quirk in some browsers. You can check whether or not this is true for your web browser. 

Step 4: Type the word or phrase you would like to find in the dialog box. 

Once you use the keyboard shortcut, a dialog box will open up at the top right corner of the screen. In this box, type the word or phrase you would like to search for. You don’t have to press Enter or Return to do the search. 

You can also use the up and down arrows in the dialog box that allow you to navigate through the document. They allow you to look at all instances of the word or phrase you searched for. 

Step 5: Click on the 3 vertical dots in the dialog box to replace words. 

If you would like to replace words, you have to open the find and replace window. To do this, click on the 3 vertical dots in the find dialog box. This will open up a window like this one: 

In the first line, you have to enter the words you would like to replace. In the second line, you have to enter the words you would like to replace with. You also have options for customizing your find and replace. 

For example, the ‘Match case’ option allows you to find words that exactly match the case of the words you entered. So if you type ‘All’, the find function will only show the ‘all’ where the first letter is capitalized. 

The ‘Match using regular expressions’ allows you to search for patterns of words. For instance, [abc] means a b or c. Using this command generally requires some technical knowledge. 

The ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ options allow you to look at the different instances of the words you would like to find. 

The ‘Replace’ option allows you to replace a particular instance of the words you searched for. The ‘Replace all’ option allows you to replace all instances of the words you searched for. 

Fill in the first and second blanks, select any of the other options and click on ‘Replace’ or ‘Replace all.’ 

Step 6: Close the find and replace window. 

Once you are done, click on the ‘x’ at the top right corner of the window to close it. 


Method 2: Using find and replace from the ‘Edit’ menu 

The next method of using find and replace is by going to the ‘Edit’ menu. The only difference between this method and the previous one is that you don’t use a keyboard shortcut in this method. Everything else is the same. 

Below are the steps for this method. 

Step 1: Click on the ‘Edit’ tab at the top left corner of the screen. 

The ‘Edit’ tab is located in the top left corner of the screen (it is the second tab option). Click on it to open the ‘Edit’ menu. 

Step 2: Click on the ‘Find and Replace’ option from the Edit menu. 

The ‘Find and Replace’ option is the last option in the Edit menu. Click on it to open the find and replace window. 

Step 3: Type the words you would like to search for and replace. 

The next step is to use the find and replace function. In the first line, enter the words you would like to find in your document. These are the words that will be replaced. In the second line, enter the words you would like to replace with. For example, if you would like to replace ‘book’ with ‘books’, enter ‘book’ in the first line and ‘books’ in the second line. 

Below the second line, you will see checkboxes that allow you to customize your search. The ‘Match cases’ option allows you to search for words that exactly match the case of the words you typed. For example, if you type ‘Book,’ you will only get ‘book’ where the first letter is capitalized. 

The ‘Match using regular expression’ option allows you to search for words based on certain patterns. You generally need technical knowledge to use this option. For instance, if you type ‘[abc]’, the find function will highlight all a, b and c’s. 

You can use ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ to browse the different instances of the words you are searching for. 

The ‘Replace’ option allows you to replace one instance of the words. The ‘Replace all’ option replaces all instances of the words. 

Step 4: Close the window.

Once you are done using the find and replace function, you can close the window by clicking on the x sign at the top right corner of the window. 


Conclusion 

This brings us to the end of the article! Since we covered a lot today, here’s a brief recap of the main points. 

The find and replace function allows you to find words and replace them with different words. There are 2 ways of using find and replace in Google Docs. The first involves using keyboard shortcuts. You can press Control/Command + F or Control/Command + G to open the find dialog box. You can type the words you would like to find in this box. To use the replace function, click on the 3 vertical dots to open the find and replace window. Add the necessary details, click on ‘Replace’ or ‘Replace all’ and close the window. 

The second method of using find and replace is by going to the Edit menu. Just click on the Edit tab at the top left corner of the screen. Then, select the last option in the Edit menu: Find and Replace. This will open the find and replace window. The other steps are the same as the previous one: you just have to fill in the details and use the replace option. 

Thank you for reading! 

Leave a Comment