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: Initiating a New Search.

Initiating a New Search

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 27, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


There are times when it is possible to really muck things up when searching for information. This usually happens when you have been searching for text and formatting, and you now want to search for something new. If you don't remember to reset all the search variables, you might never find what you are searching for. To overcome this problem, make sure you check the following:

  • Did you clear the formatting? If the No Formatting button is available on the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box, then you should click on it.
  • Did you clear the text in the Find What box? If not, do so, or at least replace it with text for which you want to search. Remember that there may be a space or some other non-printing character in the field. It is best to highlight the field and press the Del key.

If you still have problems finding what you want, the quickest solution is to exit Word, start the program again, reload the document, and search again.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (20) 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: Initiating a New Search.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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