Selective Formatting in Replacements

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 29, 2014)

Even though you cannot be selective in your searching (previous tip), Word can be much more flexible when it comes to actually replacing information. For instance, let's say you have a document in which you have many instances of the characters X45. If you want to find these characters and replace them with a regular X and a superscripted 45, there are several ways you can go about it.

The first method involves a two-step search and replace. You can follow these general steps:

  1. Search for the X45 string and replace all occurrences with X$%$%. The idea here is that $%$% is a string which is not used elsewhere in your document.
  2. Search for all occurrences of $%$% and replace it with a superscripted 45.

It doesn't take terribly long to do these two steps, and if you need to do them in multiple documents you can automate the process by recording a little macro that does them.

Another way to approach the problem is to create a little macro that does the actual search and replace in one pass of the document. The macro can find all occurrences of X45, select just the 45 part, make it superscript, and then go on to the next occurrence. The following macro does just that:

Sub DoX45()
    Dim oRng As Range
    With Selection
        .HomeKey unit:=wdStory
        With .Find
            .ClearFormatting
            .Forward = True
            .text = "X45"
            .Execute
            While .Found
                Set oRng = ActiveDocument.Range _
                (Start:=Selection.Range.Start + 1, _
                  End:=Selection.Range.End)
                oRng.Font.Superscript = True
                oRng.Start = oRng.End
                .Execute
            Wend
        End With
    End With
End Sub

Finally, if you don't particularly care for macros, there is an even easier solution:

  1. Format the first instance of X45 the way you want it to appear.
  2. Select the instance and press Ctrl+C. The formatted version is now in the Clipboard.
  3. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. In the Find What box, type X45.
  6. In the Replace With box, type ^c.
  7. Click on Replace All.

By following these steps, Word replaces all instances of X45 with the contents of the Clipboard, which happens to be the formatted version you want to use. In other words, your text is formatted in one search and replace operation.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1553) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Creating a Table Using the Keyboard

Want to easily add a table to your document simply by typing a few keystrokes? Here's how you can do it in one easy step.

Discover More

Header and Footer Data Codes

When creating headers and footers in an Excel worksheet, you can use special codes to add or format information. This tip ...

Discover More

Specifying Different Weekends with NETWORKDAYS

The NETWORKDAYS worksheet function can be used to easily determine the number of work days (Monday through Friday) within a ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Searching for a Specific Field

Fields can be a great boon to document development, as they allow you to insert different types of dynamic information in the ...

Discover More

Replacing Some Smart Quotes

Smart quotes look great in a document, but may not be right for all instances of quote marks or apostrophes. If you need to ...

Discover More

Removing All Comments

Need to get rid of all the comments in your document? You can do so by using the regular Find and Replace feature of Word.

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:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 - 0?

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.

Newest Tips
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