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: Complex Searches for Documents.

Complex Searches for Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 13, 2014)

Nick's legal department has lots of Word documents in specific subfolders of a directory and would like to search those subfolders for documents containing a name or phrase within the document itself. According to Nick, their options appear to be two-fold. First, they can use Windows Search, but that does not appear to allow the searcher to specify multiple subfolders to use in the search. Second, they can use the Advanced features of the Search tool (under Tools in the Open dialog box) to run a fairly sophisticated search specifying the subfolders and parameters.

The problem with this second approach is that it appears you can only click on one of the results. (Trying to build a selection set doesn't work.) When you click on a result, it populates the Open dialog box with that file name and allows you to easily open the file. But if that file isn't what you were looking for, you have to repeat the search again. Nick wonders if there is an easier way to do the type of document searching they need to do without needing to repeat a full search for each individual document.

Nick is right; the two apparent approaches are not the best for those trying to do complex searches. One option is to, within Word, develop your own search capability using VBA. This can be a difficult route to go, but it can provide specific, focused results. If you choose to go this route, then here is a good place to start:

http://gregmaxey.mvps.org/VBA_Find_And_Replace.htm

If you don't want to go the build-it-yourself route (and, honestly, I couldn't blame you in this circumstance), then there are any number of third-party Windows tools that you can use to do your searching. Here are just a few suggested by WordTips readers, in no particular order:

Copernic - http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/
Wilbur and Wilma - http://www.redtree.com
Google Desktop Search - http://desktop.google.com
FileSeek - http://www.binaryfortress.com/fileseek/
Total Commander - http://www.ghisler.com

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7976) 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: Complex Searches for Documents.

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

Saving Your Web Page

Want to save your document as a Web page? It's easy to do in Word; almost as easy as saving your document normally.

Discover More

Converting from Open Office to Word

If you have a number of documents in Open Office format, you may want to work with them in Word. There are several ways that ...

Discover More

Jumping to a Section

One way you can navigate through a document is to jump from section to section. Here's the traditional way to quickly get to ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Opening a Document as Read-Only

Afraid of messing up an existing document by some changes you are considering? Consider opening the document as read-only, so ...

Discover More

Saving All Open Documents

Got a lot of open documents you are working with? You can save them all at one time by just holding down the Shift key while ...

Discover More

Removing All File Properties

Want to get rid of any properties you've created for a document? You can do so by using the short macro described in this ...

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. 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 four less than 6?

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.