Changing the Formatting of All Instances of a Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 20, 2013)

7

If you are developing a document that will be used to instruct a reader how to use a program, you can make the document more functional by using color. For instance, you could make every occurrence of a given word red or blue. This would help draw the user's eye to that area of the document.

As an example, suppose you had a special warning paragraph as a design element in your document. Every one of these paragraphs starts with the word Warning! (with the exclamation mark), and you wanted this word to be in red. You can use Word to quickly search for all occurrences of the word and change its color. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the beginning of your document.
  2. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Find What and Replace With boxes are empty.
  5. Make sure the Find formatting and Replace formatting areas are blank as well. You can clear the formatting when you are in the Find and Replace boxes by clicking on the More button (if available) followed by the No Formatting button.
  6. Enter the letters Warning! in the Find What box.
  7. Press Tab to position the insertion point in the Replace With box.
  8. Click on the Format button and select Font from the menu. (If the Format button is not visible, click on the More button first.)
  9. Change the Color box so it contains the color red.
  10. Click on OK.
  11. Click on Replace All.

If you don't have a color printer, color words will do you little good when you print a document. You could achieve close to the same effect, however, by changing all occurrences of a certain word to a special format that will be noticeable on your printout.

For instance, let's assume you have a special warning paragraph as a design element in your document. Every one of these paragraphs starts with the word Warning! (with the exclamation mark), and you want this word to be in bold italics. You can use Word to quickly search for all occurrences of the word and change its formatting. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the beginning of your document.
  2. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Find What and Replace With boxes are empty, and that both the Find formatting and Replace formatting areas are blank as well.
  4. Enter the letters Warning! in the Find What box.
  5. Press Tab to position the insertion point in the Replace With box.
  6. Click on the Format button and select Font from the menu.
  7. Click on the check boxes for Bold and Italic. A checkmark should appear in each box.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Click on Replace All.

This will result in all occurrences of Warning! being formatted as bold and italic.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (257) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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Comments for this tip:

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What is one more than 2?

2016-02-14 16:26:04

JO TO

This tip is very useful,but how to programmatically do this using matlab?


2015-11-09 15:55:31

Paul Hanson

Again, all you have to do is create a character style and assign that character style to the word.

If you had defined a character style and applied it, all you would have to do is change the character style definition in your template! You would be done as quickly as it takes to access the Font window and select 12pt and Bold.

By editing the character style, you allow Word's built-in functionality to ripple through all the instances where the character style was applied.


2015-11-08 12:15:54

Charles Mikelson

I'm using WORD 2000 on my laptop and realized after about 200 pages that I need to resize a certain word phrase to
a larger font size with out affecting anything else. It's a lot of work if I have to do it manually.

Example: Xyz font size 9pt
to: Xyz font size 12pt with Bold


2015-06-08 23:24:20

John Wade

Thank you so much! This saved me a huge amount of time.


2015-02-12 23:14:44

Monica

Can the function listed here be applied in Excel?

I created an expense report and i want to change the color of all the words "Total" from black to red, without having to click and change each individual word.


2014-09-09 08:32:23

Paul Hanson

I disagree with this tip.

In this example, what the user should do is define a character style that includes bold and italic in its definition. Call the character style Warning, to be simple. Then, apply that character style instead of manually applying bold and italic.

The reason you want to do this is because if you then decide to remove the italics from your warnings, you edit the character style and allow Word's built-in functionality to ripple through all the instances where the character style was applied.


2014-09-08 16:13:27

X Y

Thank u for the instructions.


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