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: Selective Formatting using Find and Replace.

Selective Formatting using Find and Replace

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 16, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Andy had a document that used the phrase "n-day" quite a bit, and he wanted the "n" to be in italics but the rest of the phrase in regular type. Faced with the task of making the desired formatting change many times over, Andy searched around for a solution using Word's Find and Replace tool.

Andy could search for "n-day" with no problem. However, there was a problem when trying to change just the "n" to italics because Find and Replace only applies formatting changes to the entire Replace With text, not just to selected characters.

The solution was to do a two-pass Find and Replace. In the first pass, Andy changed the entire "n-day" phrase to italics. On the second pass he searched for "-day" (without the "n") and replaced it with a non-italics version. The result was just what he wanted, with only the single character in italics.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (436) 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: Selective Formatting using Find and Replace.

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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