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: Finding an Unknown Character.

Finding an Unknown Character

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

Word documents can contain just about any character you can think of—and many you can't. If you inherit documents from other people, or cut and paste information from other sources, it is possible to end up with characters in Word that you don't know how to identify. If you can't identify them, then it makes it very hard to search and replace them. Sometimes Word will allow you to copy the character and paste it into the Find box when searching, but you can only do this with a limited number of characters.

The answer to this conundrum is to identify, specifically, the character in question. Then you can use the special features of the Find box to locate it. The first step is to create this macro:

Public Sub GetCharASCII()
    MsgBox "CharCode is: " & Asc(Selection)
End Sub

Next, select the single character that you have a question about and run the macro. You will see a dialog box that tells you the ASCII value of the character. For instance, let's say that the character value returned is 148. You would then use the following in the Find box:

^148

Word will now find all instances of the character in question, and you can replace it as desired.

If you still have a stubborn character that this won't work for—for instance, some Unicode characters—then a different approach is required. If you fit into this category, refer to the following article at the Word MVP site:

http://wordmvp.com/FAQs/MacrosVBA/FindReplaceSymbols.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1613) 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: Finding an Unknown Character.

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

Printing without Footnotes

Want to print your document without all those footnotes included? It's not quite as easy as you might think, as this tip ...

Discover More

Adjusting Table Row Height

When working with tables, you can adjust the height of individual rows. How you go about such adjustments depends on the ...

Discover More

Playing with a Full Deck

Ever need to populate some cells in your worksheet with a range of data, but in random order? Here's a handy macro to get the ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Searching for Multi-Byte Hex Codes

Need to find a character for which you only know the hex code? There are a few ways you can search for the information, as ...

Discover More

Ignoring Accented Characters in Searches

When writing in non-English languages, there can be many variations of accented characters that are used in a word. You might ...

Discover More

Replacing with a Subscript

The Find and Replace capabilities of Word are quite powerful. One type of replacing may not seem possible at ...

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

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 6 - 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.