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 Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format.

Searching for Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 20, 2014)

Word has a very powerful search capability that allows you to find not just text, but the formats of text as well. Many Word users already know how to search for character formats, but you may not know that you can also search for characters that do not have a certain formatting property. To search for characters lacking a certain format, 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. Click on the More button if it is available. Word displays an expanded version of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  4. Delete anything in the Find What box. Click on the No Formatting button if it is available.
  5. Click on the Format button and then choose Font. Word displays the Find Font dialog box. (See Figure 2.) Notice that all the character attributes (Superscript, Subscript, and so on) in the Effects area are shaded. This means these attributes do not matter; they are ignored by Word when searching.
  6. Figure 2. The Find Font dialog box.

  7. Select the character attributes you don't want the matched text to have. Make sure the check box beside the attribute is cleared.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. 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 (1793) 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 Text that Does Not Have a Certain Format.

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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