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Word.Tips.Net WordTips (Menu Interface)

Adding an Ellipsis to the Beginning of Some Paragraphs

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: Adding an Ellipsis to the Beginning of Some Paragraphs.

Steven has a document he is editing, and it has many paragraphs that begin with incomplete sentences. He can tell where these are because the paragraphs always begin with a word that starts with a lowercase letter. He wants to use Find and Replace to locate these problem paragraphs and add an ellipsis (...) before the character that starts the paragraph. Steven can figure out what to search for, but can't quite figure out what to replace it with.

This is a job for the wildcard capabilities of Find and Replace. Here are the steps to follow in doing the replacement:

  1. Somewhere in your document, create an ellipsis character. (Perhaps at the beginning of your first incomplete sentence.)
  2. Select the ellipsis character and press Ctrl+C to copy it to the Clipboard.
  3. Move the insertion point so that the ellipsis character is no longer selected.
  4. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  5. Click the More button, if it is available. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  7. Make sure the Use Wildcards check box is selected.
  8. Enter the following in the Find What box: (^13)([a-z])
  9. Enter the following in the Replace With box: \1^c\2
  10. Click Replace All.

The pattern you enter into the Find What box (step 7) locates any end-of-paragraph marker followed by any lowercase letter. The parentheses around these individual elements form two groups that can be referenced in the Replace With box (step 8) by the \1 and \2, respectively. The ^c in the Replace With pattern indicates that you want to use the contents of the Clipboard in the replacement. In this case, the Clipboard contains an ellipsis character, placed there in step 2.

You can discover more about using wildcards in your searching by going to either of these:

http://word.tips.net/C0016_Wild_Card.html
http://www.gmayor.com/replace_using_wildcards.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11323) 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: Adding an Ellipsis to the Beginning of Some Paragraphs.

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Comments for this tip:

Harold Druss    22 Feb 2012, 06:41
Perhaps a macro would be a better solution, especially if Steven does this on a regular basis.

Sub FirstCharacterLowercase()
Dim p As Paragraph
Dim i As Long
i = 1
For Each p In ActiveDocument.Paragraphs
    If Asc(p.Range.Characters(1).Text) > 96 And Asc(p.Range.Characters(1).Text) < 123 Then
        ActiveDocument.Paragraphs(i).Range.Select
        With Selection
            .Collapse Direction:=wdCollapseStart
            .InsertSymbol CharacterNumber:=8230, Unicode:=True, Bias:=0
        End With
        
    End If
i = i + 1
Next
End Sub
Mike    21 Feb 2012, 18:36
Harold, I haven't tested this, but I'm going to assume it doesn't work on the first paragraph simply because it's not preceded by a paragraph character (^13), which this specifically looks for.
Steven Taylor    20 Feb 2012, 14:00
If your first paragraph starts at the very beginning of the file, then this tip will not work because the search criteria includes finding a newline (^13) character followed by any lowercase letter. A paragraph at the beginning of the file does not have a newline character just before it. You will need to fix that first one manually and then do the rest of the file using the find and replace function.
Harold Druss    18 Feb 2012, 09:35
Does this tip work if the first letter of the first paragraph is lower case?

I can't seem to get it to work with the first paragraph.
 
 

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