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: Special Characters in Pattern Matching.

Special Characters in Pattern Matching

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 16, 2011)

If you are using the powerful pattern-matching engine in Word, you should understand that you cannot search for some special characters in the same way you do when normally searching. In normal Word searching you indicate the start of a special character by using the caret (^) followed by a character that indicates what you are searching for. For instance, ^p will search for a paragraph mark.

When pattern matching is enabled you cannot use all the special characters you normally used in searching. Instead you must use workarounds, as shown here:

Normal Search Pattern Match Meaning
 ^e ^2 Auto-numbered endnote reference mark
 ^f ^2 Auto-numbered footnote reference mark
 ^b ^12 Section or page break
 ^p ^13 Paragraph mark

Note that the workaround for endnotes and footnotes is the same. This means that you cannot differentiate between these characters when pattern matching. In addition, you cannot search for a field (^d) when using pattern matching. Searching for white space (^w) is also a little different. You must type a space (press the Space Bar) and then enter the pattern {1,}. This causes Word to search for one or more spaces.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1641) 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: Special Characters in Pattern Matching.

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

Recovering Macros and AutoText Entries from Normal.dot

Many of your custom configurations of Word—most notably macros and AutoText entries—are stored in the Normal.dot ...

Discover More

Rounding to Even and Odd Values

Want to round values so they are always even or odd? You can do it quickly and easily by using the EVEN and ODD worksheet ...

Discover More

Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations

Excel provides different file formats you can use to export your worksheet information. One such file format is CSV, or comma ...

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 Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format

You can easily use Find and Replace to find text that has a particular format to it. Most people don't know you can use the ...

Discover More

Searching for Special Characters

When using the Find and Replace feature of Word, you can search for more than plain text. You can also search for characters ...

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

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 8Mpixels. 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 5 + 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.