By Michael Barden
In the last issues of Office for Mere Mortals (part 1 and part 2) we looked at how to search within a document in the various Office programs. There is a lot of hidden power accompanying the relatively simple process of finding text within a document.
In this and the next issue we'll look at Replace features in Office.
For starters we'll look at the basics of replacing text, followed by more specifics such as replacing formatting and special characters such as paragraph marks.
Accessing the Replace dialog in can be achieved in 2 uniform ways across the Microsoft Office suite.
The keyboard shortcut for 'finding' in Microsoft Word is the recognizable Ctrl-F, whereas the keyboard shortcut for 'replacing' is a somewhat less recognizable Ctrl-H.
Both of these keyboard shortcuts actually bring up the same dialog box, but with the appropriate tab selected on the dialog - either Find or Replace. Replace is also accessible under the 'Edit' menu, as is Find.
Once the Replace dialog box is open, the process of replacing a word or a phrase is just a slight extension to the process of finding a word or phrase.
Firstly, enter the text you want to replace into the 'Find what' text box. Next, enter the replacement text into the 'Replace with' text box.
There are two replacement options. The first option is to click the 'Find Next' button and Word will jump to the next instance of the text in the document. The found text should appear on the computer screen so that you can see both the selection and the Replace dialog, but sometimes you might have to move the dialog a bit. If you want to replace the found text, click on the 'Replace' button in order to manually replace the occurrence of the search term.
This option is useful if you want to make sure that the Find is locating what you intended or in situations where you don't always want to replace the found text.
The second option is simply clicking the 'Replace All' button to automatically replace each occurrence of the search term within the document. This option is faster than the first, whereas the first is a much safer option than the second.
It's best to save your documents before doing a Save All because you're making a lot of changes at one time.
Tip: A common trick is to combine both methods. You manually choose Replace for the first few 'hits' and once you're assured that the Find/Replace combo is working the way you intend, click Replace All to complete the rest.
Article posted: Wednesday, 23 November 2005
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