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: Ignoring Accented Characters in Searches.

Ignoring Accented Characters in Searches

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 9, 2020)

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Sheila has many files of French names. Since use of accents varies on the names, she would like to be able to search for names without having to include the accents. Sue is wondering if Word can perform "accent insensitive" searches.

The short answer is no, it cannot. The reason is simple: Word searches for characters, and all the accented characters are individual and distinct characters.

The workaround, of course, is to use ^? (any character) or ^$ (any letter) in the place where the various accented characters may appear in your names. If you choose to do wildcard searches, you can get even more specific in the accented characters you want to include or not include in your searching.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (500) 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: Ignoring Accented Characters in Searches.

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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Ada Bondy

I a little confused after windows xp passed away, and now I have to get used to Windows7 I learn everyday something new and I hope that one day I shall master this new Windows as I did the previous one.


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