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: When Replace Doesn't Work.

When Replace Doesn't Work

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 29, 2016)

3

When you try to replace text in your document using Find and Replace, things may not always work as you would expect. If they don't, check these factors:

  • Have you made a selection of text? If so, the replace operation will work only within that selection.
  • Have you cleared the formatting? (Unless the formatting is necessary for what you are trying to do.)
  • Did you spell the Find What and Replace With text correctly?
  • Are the search modifiers (match case and whole word) selected properly?

If these factors are set properly and it still doesn't work properly, then you should exit Word and restart the program. You will then be able to perform the replace anew, with Word in a "fresh" condition.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (26) 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: When Replace Doesn't Work.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing a Single Column in Multiple Columns

Ever printed out a worksheet only to find that you have text only at the left side of each page? You can use more of each ...

Discover More

Footnotes for Chapters

Word allows you to add footnotes to your documents and configure how they are numbered. Sometimes the numbering can get a bit ...

Discover More

Signs Your Computer has a Virus

Think your system might be infected with a virus? How would you know if it was? Here are some quick indicators that your ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Initiating a New Search

I do a lot of searching in my documents. Sometimes the searches may not go exactly as I expected. Here are some things I ...

Discover More

Replacing with Plain Text

When using Find and Replace, how your replacements are formatted will depend on how the text being replaced is formatted. ...

Discover More

Quicker Multiple Replace Operations

Need to replace a lot of the same characters very, very quickly? Here's a great way to do the replacement.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 0 + 7?

2016-07-14 13:06:43

Alex

This is a new problem in my Word 2003 program. Sorry to say, nil improvement. I'll shut everything down and try again tomorrow. Could recent Windows updates be responsible ?


2014-04-08 02:52:06

sk

Careful with all the points mentioned, still find-replace sometimes stops working for no reason. Using Word 2007


2011-12-12 08:45:02

Steve Dunham

Another thing to check: make sure that "No Proofing" is not applied to portions (or all) of the document. I get so many documents to edit that have "No Proofing" in places that I routinely Select All, uncheck the "No Proofing" box, and make sure that the language is U.S. English. Besides interfering with a spelling check, those settings can prevent Word from finding things.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.