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 White Space.

Searching for White Space

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 10, 2011)

Word allows you to search not just for text, but also for special characters that normally do not print. Word even provides a shorthand character to search for white space. White space is any combination of spaces, tabs, paragraph marks, newline characters, and breaks. In short, it is most non-printing characters.

To search for white space, follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. In the Find What box, enter the text for which you want to search. To search for white space, enter ^w (it is important to use a lowercase w).
  4. Set other searching parameters, as desired.
  5. Click your mouse on Find Next.

Word then finds the first occurrence of white space. Remember that this includes any non-printing characters.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1813) 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 White Space.

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

Workbook, Once Created, is Too Big for Memory

Understanding how Excel uses memory, how much it allows, and how to work around the limitations.

Discover More

Inserting a Section Mark

Section marks are used regularly in the writings of some industries, such as in legal documents. If you need a way to easily ...

Discover More

Understanding Relative and Absolute Addressing

In Excel you can reference a cell in a formula by entering the coordinates for the cell you want to reference. This can ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

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

Searching for Paragraph Marks and Line Breaks

Word allows you to search not for special characters that normally do not print such as paragraph marks and line breaks.

Discover More

Special Characters in Pattern Matching

The most powerful search engine in Word use pattern matching, but the way you specify special characters in a ...

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.