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Finding Text Not Using a Particular Font

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Finding Text Not Using a Particular Font.

Hilary notes that most of the documents their company uses are standardized on a Times Roman font. However, once in a while someone will edit a document and apply a different font to some of the text it contains. She'd like to easily find those "formatting anomalies." Hilary wonders if there is a way to search a document for text that is not using a particular font.

There are a couple of ways that you can go about finding what you need and, potentially, fixing the problem. First, you could use Find and Replace in this manner:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click the More button, if it is available.
  3. Make sure the Find What box is empty.
  4. Click Format and then choose Font. Word displays the Find Font dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Find Font dialog box.

  6. Use the controls in the dialog box to specify that you want to find the Times Roman font you are using. (Just choose the font. You don't have to specify any other settings unless you want to.)
  7. Click on OK. The font specifications you are looking for appear just below the Find What box.
  8. Click the Highlight All Items check box.
  9. Click Find All.

At this point, the dialog box closes and Word dutifully highlights all instances of Times Roman in your document. You can easily scroll through the document to see what isn't highlighted—these are the "anomalies" you are seeking.

You could also use Find and Replace to apply some stand-out formatting to text that isn't in Times Roman font. Just figure out some formatting that you are not using in the document, such as double underlines or red text. Select the whole document (Ctrl+A) and apply that formatting to the whole document. Then use Find and Replace to find all instances to Times Roman (see the steps above) and replace it with Times Roman without the stand-out formatting you previously applied. What you end up with is only the text that is not Times Roman formatted with the stand-out formatting.

If you prefer, you can use a macro to modify the font used in the document. The following is a short little macro that looks at the font used for each word in your document:

Sub FixFormatAnomalies()
    Dim aWord

    For Each aWord In ActiveDocument.Words
        If aWord.Font.Name <> "Times Roman" Then
            aWord.Font.Name = "Times Roman"
        End If
    Next aWord
End Sub

If the font used for a word doesn't match what you want, then the routine changes the font. The only thing you'll need to do to make the macro work in your case is to change the desired font name on two lines. (You'll want to use the font name exactly as it appears in the list of fonts usable by Word. Pay particular attention to capitalization.)

Another approach is to simply check each character in the document and highlight the character if it doesn't use your desired font. The following macro highlights the offending characters in yellow:

Sub HighlightOtherFonts()
    Dim iCounter As Integer
    Dim sFontName As String
    Dim sPrompt As String
    Dim sTitle As String
    Dim sDefault As String
    Dim c As Range

    ' Gets the name of the font as typed by the user
    sPrompt = "Type the name of the font that is OK to "
    sPrompt = sPrompt & "have in the document."
    sTitle = "Acceptable Font Name"
    sDefault = ActiveDocument.Styles(wdStyleNormal).Font.Name
    sFontName = InputBox(sPrompt, sTitle, sDefault)

    ' Verifies that the name of the font is valid
    For Each sFont In Application.FontNames
        If UCase(sFontName) = UCase(sFont) Then
            ' Changes the user-typed name of the font to
            ' the version recognized by the application
            ' Example: 'times new roman' (user-typed) is
            ' changed to 'Times New Roman' (application version)
            sFontName = sFont
            Exit For
            ' Terminates the loop if the name of the font is invalid
            iCounter = iCounter + 1
            If iCounter = FontNames.Count Then
                sPrompt = "The font name as typed does not match "
                sPrompt = sPrompt & "any fonts available to the "
                sPrompt = sPrompt & "application."
                sTitle = "Font Name Not Found"
                MsgBox sPrompt, vbOKOnly, sTitle
                Exit Sub
            End If
        End If
    Next sFont

    ' Checks each character in the document, highlighting
    ' if the character's font doesn't match the OK font
    For Each c In ActiveDocument.Characters
        If c.Font.Name <> sFontName Then
            ' Highlight the selected range of text in yellow
            c.FormattedText.HighlightColorIndex = wdYellow
        End If
    Next c
End Sub

One of the nice features of this macro is that it prompts you for the font that you find acceptable. It then checks to make sure that what you enter matches one of the fonts available in the system. Because the macro checks each character in the document individually, you may need to be patient while it is running. The longer the document, the longer the macro takes to complete its work.

If you simply want to find the next occurrence of a font change, then the following very short macro is quite handy:

Sub FindDifferentFont()
  Selection.Collapse wdCollapseEnd
End sub

The SelectCurrentFont method extends the current selection until there is a change in either the font (typeface) or the font size. So if you start at the beginning of the document and run the macro (perhaps you could assign it to a shortcut key), then the insertion point is moved to where the current font ends and a new font begins.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11069) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Finding Text Not Using a Particular Font.

Related Tips:

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Comments for this tip:

Johanens van der Zwan    22 Aug 2016, 10:32
Good Day

I would like to search a document for text like the following:
- "Genesis 3:12"
- "Exodo 5"
- "Marcos 1:2,3-5;5:8"

And apply a style to it.

What is the best way to do that.

Thanks very much.
kesav    07 Apr 2015, 22:27
Thanks in advance.
I am not able to replace Chinese wrong characters with Chinese right characters.

Can you please help me?
J. Comeau    26 Mar 2015, 13:12
This is great! But it doesn't work in the document's footnotes/endnotes. Still trying to figure out the syntax for that modification . . .
Gale Burns    02 Dec 2014, 08:30
It's a whole lot easier to highlight your entire document and select the font you want to use from the main ribbon. Eliminates a lot of the extra steps you describe above.
Mike    25 Nov 2014, 15:34
I'm trying to replace the letters a, b, or d in symbol font with "alpha" "beta" or "delta" to avoid confusion in subsequent versions of a excel document. Is there visual basic code that will do find/replace based on the font?
K. S. Brooks    06 Nov 2012, 14:31
These instructions were perfect. Thank you so very much!
Mark    03 Dec 2011, 17:54
Thanks for this tip; I've found it really useful!

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