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: Viewing Files of a Certain Type.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 23, 2011)
When you want to open a document, you normally display the Open dialog box by choosing Open from the File menu, or by clicking on the Open tool on the Standard toolbar. This is a standard dialog box in Word, used to list the files that you can open in the program. At the bottom of the dialog box you can use the Files of Type drop-down list to limit what Word displays in the file list.
What if you want to display files that have a non-standard filename extension, however? For instance, what if you want to display only the files that you saved using a filename extension of .LET? If you want to do this, Word makes it easy: simply enter *.let in the File Name box and press Enter. Word dutifully displays all the files ending in .LET.
What if you want to display only the files that begin with W and end in .DOC? All you need to do is enter w*.doc in the File Name box and again press Enter.
For those who have been around computers for a while, you may recognize a pattern here. The pattern is simple—you can use the old DOS wildcards (asterisk and question mark) to specify a pattern for the files you want Word to list.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1718) 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: Viewing Files of a Certain Type.
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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.