How to Find and Replace text in MS Word

It can be a painstaking experience to go through a document just to find a particular text, most especially when you have a very long file.

Even worse is when you have finished your work, only to realize that you misspelled a word or two several times. Now, it would be impractical to locate and correct each word or set of words one by one.

This is why Microsoft Word has got just the right tool to find and replace all instances of a set of words. 

Now, there are about two ways you can find and replace text in MS Word:

Two Ways to Find And Replace Text in MS Word

  • Using the View Tab in the Ribbon
  • Using the Shortcut Key

Both of these methods will be covered in this guide down below. We also made sure to include a few intermediate procedures to better filter your search results. 

Without further ado, let’s get started!


Why Should You Use the Find And Replace Text Tool in MS Word?

When your document is significantly long, it would be tedious and impractical to locate and replace a set of words one by one. More so if you need to correct a few words repeating throughout your document. A solution to that problem is to use the Find and Replace Tool in MS Word. The tool enables you to search and replace texts in just a few clicks. 

The Find and Replace tool is best utilized when: 

  • You want to replace a specific word or group of words.
  • You want to replace a specific word based on text formatting style.  
  • You want to replace incorrect misspelled words all at once. 
  • You want to replace a group of words that repeat throughout the document. 
  • You want to change the formatting style of certain texts.

This is why you should use the Find and Replace tool in MS Word. This tool will save you a lot of time. Furthermore, you can rest assured that every word found by the tool will be replaced without mistakes. Contrast this to manually looking for them, running the risk of missing a few due to human error. 

Let’s get right into it. 


Method 1: Using the View tab in the Ribbon

You can access the tool in two different ways. In this method we’ll be using the function through the ribbon—basically the toolbar of MS Word. 

Here’s how you can do that.  

Step 1. Open up your MS Word document. 

First off, we will need to open a Word document. Feel free to use your own personal documents for this tutorial. If you make a mistake replacing certain texts incorrectly, simply press the Ctrl + Z keys on your keyboard to revert the changes. 

Step 2. Open up the Navigation pane. 

Open up the View tab on the ribbon. You’ll find this near the top and center area of your MS Word window. From there, tick the Navigation pane checkbox in the Show group. That should bring out the Navigation pane at the left-hand side of your MS Word.

Step 3. Launch the Find and Replace tool. 

Click the magnifier icon in the right-most side of the search field found at the top of the Navigation pane. Once you’ve accessed the drop-down menu, look for and click on Replace.The Find and Replace pop-up window will be displayed. 

Step 4. Find and Replace text. 

Now that you’re there, simply fill out the necessary fields below.

  • In the Find What: field, type the text that you want to find. 
  • In the Replace With: field, type the replacement text.  

Click Replace to replace one-by-one or Replace All to replace all at once. Click Find Next if you want to scan through the search results and have an idea of where they are in your document. Finally, click Cancel if you want to close the Find and Replace window. 

You can type words, phrases, or even sentences in the Find what: and Replace with: fields. Also, you can replace the text with specific capitalization, punctuations, and other characters. 

To give you an example, we will replace ‘golem’ with ‘Golum’s’.  

Here’s the result. 

And that’s it! You’ve just replaced a text using the Find and Replace tool in MS Word. To learn more about other features of the Find and Replace tool, go ahead and skip to Customizing Options when Finding and Replacing Text in MS Word


Method 2: Using a shortcut key. 

This method will guide you how to access the tool by pressing two keys on your keyboard. Here’s how to do that. 

Step 1. Open up your MS Word document. 

To get started, we will need to open a Word document. Feel free to use your own personal documents for this tutorial. Don’t worry about messing up your document. Simply press CTRL + Z on your keyboard to revert any changes. 

Step 2. Launch the Find and Replace tool. 

On your keyboard, press the CTRL + H keys. This will display the Find and Replace pop-up window.  

Tip: This shortcut key also works with Google Docs.  

Congratulations! You’ve just opened the Find and Replace tool by using a shortcut key. Anything from here on out is the same as the previous method. 

Remember that you can find and replace letters, words, or phrases together with punctuation and other characters. Simply use the Find what and Replace with boxes to type in what you are looking for and what you want to replace it with. 


Customizing Options when Finding And Replacing Text in MS Word

MS Word has a lot of other things in store for us. The Find and Replace tool has a pool of options to make searches more sophisticated. This can come in handy most especially when the results include several irrelevant texts.  

Now, there are a few ways to customize your search by clicking the More >> button found on the lower-left corner of the Find and Replace Tool in MS Word. 

This will expand the Find and Replace window and provide you with several checkboxes to further filter your search. 

Here’s a quick rundown of when to use them.  

Search

Use this when you want the search direction from your cursor, whether upwards or downwards.  

Match case 

Use this when you want to find and replace words with specific capitalization. 

Find whole words only

Use this when you want to find and replace words as a whole and not as a part of another word. For example, find “call”, and you’ll get “call” but NEITHER “caller”, nor “called”,  nor “calling”.

Use wildcards

Use this when you want to find and replace words as a whole and as a part of another word. For example, find “call”, and you’ll get either “called”, or “calling”, or “caller”. 

Sounds like 

Use this when you want to find and replace words that sound alike. For example, find “call”, and you’ll get “cool”, “coal”, but NEITHER “ball” nor “tall”. 

Find all word forms

Use this when you want to find and replace all VERB forms of a word. For example, find “call”, and you’ll get “called”, “calling”, but NOT “caller”. 

Match prefix

Use this when you want to find and replace words with the same beginnings. For example, find “re” and you’ll get “recall”, “repay”, or “rebuild”. 

Match suffix

Use this when you want to find and replace words with the same endings. For example, find “all” and you’ll get “ball”, “tall”, or “call”. 

Ignore punctuation characters

Use this when you want to find and replace words while ignoring punctuations. For example, find “callers” and you’ll get both “callers” and “caller’s”. 

Ignore white-space characters  

Use this when you want to find and replace words while ignoring the spaces in between. For example, find “calling the caller” and you’ll get “callingthecaller”. 


Conclusion 

You have finally reached the last section of this article. Hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out how to insert a text box in MS Word. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve covered in this article. 

Find and Replace tool allows you to search a particular text quickly. It can automatically replace all instances of a text in your document at once. There are two ways to find and replace a text in MS Word. One is to use the View tab in the ribbon. The other is to use the shortcut key CTRL + H. 

We hope you found this article helpful!

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