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: Searching for Optional Hyphens.

Searching for Optional Hyphens

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 19, 2014)

Optional hyphens are used within a document to indicate a place where a word can be hyphenated, if necessary. If it is not necessary, then the word is not hyphenated at the point of the optional hyphen. These special characters are manually created by pressing Ctrl+- (Ctrl and the hyphen key). They are also inserted by using the Hyphenation tool within Word.

At some point you may want to search for optional hyphens within your document. For instance, you may want to delete them or replace them with some other character, such as a real hyphen. To search for optional hyphens, follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. In the Find What box, enter ^-. Optionally, you can specify the actual character by clicking on the Special button and selecting Optional Hyphen from the list of special characters. (You may need to click on the More button before you can see the Special button.) (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Set other searching parameters, as desired.
  5. Click on Find Next.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (854) 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: Searching for Optional Hyphens.

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

Compiling a List of Students in a Course

Need to pull just a limited amount of information from a large list? Here are a few approaches you might be able to use with ...

Discover More

Selecting to the Next Punctuation Mark

Writing macros often involves selecting different parts of your document so that some sort of processing can be performed. If ...

Discover More

Understanding Storage Spaces

Need to add some addition drive space to your system? Why not consider adding what Microsoft calls a "storage space?" This ...

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)

Quick and Dirty Paragraph Count

Need to know how many paragraphs are in a document? You can use Word's Find and Replace feature to get a count quickly.

Discover More

Pay Attention to Case when Searching for ASCII Codes

Word allows you to search for specific ASCII codes in a document. If you use codes to search for alphabetic characters, you ...

Discover More

Special Differences when Searching

Word includes two different search engines. Which search engine you choose to use will dictate what Word shows as available ...

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 for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share