How to use Wildcards to do Advanced Find and Replace in Microsoft Word
Wildcards or Wild Characters are symbols that represent one or more letter, used to extend your word search beyond just the word itself.
You can use Wildcards to search for words that start with and end with a particular letter or all that start with a certain series of letters such as ‘Doc*’. They can also be used to search for a range of words, there really is a wildcard to help you in any search, for a full breakdown of the most commonly used wildcards and how to use them, keep reading.
Commonly Used Wildcards
% Percent as a Wildcard
The percent symbol is used to match any character.
* Asterisk as a Wildcard
The Asterisk symbol is used to match any one or more character. For example, “care*” will match with anything beginning with ‘the’ in your document, such as ‘careful’, ‘career’, ‘caregiving’ will all match.
? Question Mark as a Wildcard
The Question mark symbol will match any single character. For example ‘ca?e” will match with all of the above words, plus ‘cake’ and ‘cape’.
In some versions of Microsoft Windows and macOS, you can use multiple question marks to symbol more than one missing letter. For example ‘c??e’, this search would pull all of the above words, plus words such as ‘core’ and ‘cube’ and ‘cue’ even though it is not four letters.
[ ] Open/close brackets as a Wildcard
The Unix shells are used to match a range of words or letters. For example, [a-z] will match with any letters from a – z, leaving any numbers out of the match.
Using Wildcards to Find and Replace in Microsoft Word
- Open Word
- Select View
- Click Navigation Pane
- Within the Navigation Pane, click the magnifying glass
- Click Settings
- Select Advanced Settings
- Tick the Use wildcards box
- Choose the wildcard character
- Type additional text in the Find box
- Type replacement word in the Replace box
- Press Replace All
You have now successfully used wildcards in an advanced find and replace.
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