Advanced Find using Wildcards

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The wildcard is an advanced finding feature that has some powerful options beyond the standard * and ? options.

Over in Office for Mere Mortals we’ve been talking about the Find features in Office (part 1 and part 2).

The wildcard feature has some powerful options beyond the standard * and ? options.

The beginning of a word can be represented by the “less than” symbol (<). For example, <(inter) finds "interesting" and "intercept", but not splinter. Conversely the end of a word can be represented by the "greater than" symbol (>). For example (inter)> finds “splinter” but not “interesting” nor “intercept”.

A group of characters to choose from can be represented by grouping them inside the square brackets [ ]. For example w[io]n will find both “win” and “won”.

A range of characters to choose from can be represented by specifying the alphabetical range inside the square brackets with a hyphen between them [-]. For example, [r-t]ight will find “right” and “sight”, but not “fight”. Ranges must be in ascending order.

Conversely, you can specify a group of characters that excludes a specific range, by adding the exclamation mark (!) to negate the statement. For example, t[!a-m]ck finds “tock” and “tuck”, but not “tack” or “tick”.

To search for a character that has been defined as a wildcard, type a backslash () before the character. For example, typing ? will let you find a question mark as part of your search.

Finally, you can use parentheses to group the wildcard characters and text and to indicate the order of evaluation. For example, typing <(con)*(ed)> will find “converted” and “conscripted”.

 


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