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 Special Hyphens.

Searching for Special Hyphens

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 1, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word allows you to search not just for text, but also for special characters that normally do not print. Two such characters are special types of hyphens used by Word. You can search either for optional hyphens (these are typically inserted by the Hyphenation tool) or for non-breaking hyphens. To search for these characters, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Find from the Edit menu or press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. In the Find What box, enter the text for which you want to search. To search for an optional hyphen, enter ^-; to search for a non-breaking hyphen, enter ^~ (a tilde character). Optionally, you can specify the actual character by clicking on the Special button and selecting the type of hyphen from the list of special characters. (You may need to click on the More button before you can see the Special button.)
  3. Set other searching parameters, as desired.
  4. 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 (1179) 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 Special 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. ...

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