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Editing: Beyond the Basics

Some basic editing techniques were discussed in Chapter 2. In this section, you’ll learn to search for and replace text, use Office’s AutoText feature to automatically enter text for you, and use smart buttons to speed common editing and formatting tasks.

Finding and replacing text

You can instruct Word to search for and optionally replace words or phrases. For example, if you can’t remember the page on which you referred to Apple’s annual report, you could perform a find on the phrase annual report. Or suppose your company recently changed its name from Johnson Plumbing Supplies to Widgets Inc. Using the Replace command, you can replace every instance of the old name with the new one.

There are three ways to conduct a search in Word 2011: using the search box at the top of the document window, performing an Advanced Find and Replace in a dialog box, or performing a find or find/replace in the Search Pane of the Sidebar. See Table 4.3 for a list of special Find/Replace options.

Table 4.3 Special Find/Replace Options



Match case

Finds words that contain the same combination of upper- and lowercase characters

Find whole words only

Finds only complete words (for example, “art” finds only “art,” not “artist”)

Use wildcards

Allows you to enter a code to specify a special character combination in search strings (for example, ? will match any single character)

Sounds like

Finds text that sounds like the search string

Find all word forms

Finds all variations of the chosen word (for example, “apple” and “apples”)

To find text using the search box:

  1. Click in the search box, choose Edit > Find > Find, or press Command-F.

    The cursor is positioned in the search box.

  2. Type a search string circle-a.jpg.

    As you type, Word highlights all matching instances in the document.

  3. Scroll through the document to find the match for which you’re searching or click the arrow icons to move from one match to the next.
  4. To end the search, click the Clear icon.

To find text using Advanced Find and Replace:

  1. Choose Edit > Find > Advanced Find and Replace.

    The Find and Replace dialog box appears.

  2. Type a search string in the Find what box circle-c.jpg.
  3. Do either of the following:
    • To find the next instance of the search string, click the Find Next button.

      Word searches for the string, starting from the current text insertion mark.

    • To find and highlight all matches circle-d.jpg, click the Highlight all items found in check box, choose an option from its drop-down menu (such as Main Document), and click Find All.
  4. To search for the next occurrence of the text (when searching for individual instances), click Find Next. Repeat as necessary to find other matches.
  5. When you’re done searching, click the Cancel or Close button.

To replace text using Advanced Find and Replace:

  1. Choose Edit > Find > Advanced Find and Replace.

    The Find and Replace dialog box appears gray-circle-c.jpg.

  2. Click the Replace tab, and type a search string in the Find what box and a replacement string in the Replace with box circle-e.jpg.
  3. Click the Find Next button.

    Word searches for the text. If a match is found, it’s highlighted in the document.

  4. Do one of the following:
    • Click Replace to replace the text and search for the next instance, if any.
    • Click Find Next to ignore this instance and search for the next occurrence.
    • Click Replace All to simultaneously replace all matches.
  5. Repeat step 4 until you’re done or until Word has finished searching.
  6. Click Cancel or Close to dismiss the dialog box.

To find text using the Search Pane:

  1. Open the Search Pane by doing one of the following:
    • Choose View > Sidebar > Search Pane.
    • Choose Search Pane from the Sidebar icon on the Standard toolbar.
    • If the Sidebar is already open, click the Find and Replace tab above it.
  2. Expand the search area by clicking the triangle beside Find and Replace circle-j.jpg.
  3. Type a search string in the Find box.

    As you type, Word lists matches in the Search Pane and highlights them in the document.

  4. Optional: To insert a special character into the search string (such as a tab or wildcard), choose it from the Find box’s menu circle-k.jpg.
  5. Optional: Choose additional search criteria from the drop-down menu circle-l.jpg.
  6. To go to a match, do any of the following:
    • To jump to a specific match, click the match text in the Search Pane.
    • To review all matches in order from the text insertion mark, repeatedly click the Find button.
    • To randomly review the matches, manually scroll the document.
  7. To end the search, click the Sidebar’s close icon gray-circle-j.jpg.

To replace text using the Search Pane:

  1. Perform steps 1–5 of “To find text using the Search Pane,” earlier in this section.
  2. Enter a replacement text string in the Replace box gray-circle-j.jpg. Note that you can insert special characters in the replacement string in the same manner as with the find string gray-circle-k.jpg.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Step through the matches. To find the first match (searching from the text insertion mark), click Find. If the instance is one that you want to replace, click Replace. Word replaces the text and moves to the next match.
    • Replace a particular instance. Click the instance in the Matches section of the Search Pane and click Replace.
    • Replace all instances. Click Replace All to simultaneously replace all matches with the replacement text.
  4. When you’re finished, click the Sidebar’s close icon gray-circle-j.jpg.

Automatically entering text

The AutoText feature is designed to help you avoid repetitive typing. AutoText lets you quickly insert any amount of frequently used text into a document—from one word to multiple paragraphs.

To create an AutoText entry:

  1. In the active document, select the text from which you want to create an AutoText entry.

    The selected text must consist of at least five characters.

  2. Choose Insert > AutoText > New.

    The Create New AutoText dialog box appears and suggests a name circle-m.jpg.

  3. Optional: Edit the suggested name.

    If you want to be able to insert the entry using AutoComplete, make sure that the name contains at least four characters.

  4. Click OK to add the text to the list of available AutoText entries.

To insert an AutoText entry:

As you type, Word watches for the name of an AutoText entry. When it detects one, a yellow box containing the AutoText entry’s name appears circle-n.jpg. Do one of the following:

Working with smart buttons

To make certain edits more flexible, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint provide smart buttons. A smart button is a pop-up icon that displays a menu of options when clicked. There are two types of smart buttons: AutoCorrect Options and Paste Options.

The Replace list of words, phrases, and symbols in the AutoCorrect dialog box circle-p.jpg determines which text will automatically be substituted for other text as you type. For instance, if you type (c), a copyright symbol (©) is substituted. Common typos, such as ones caused by transposing letters, are also corrected. After an autocorrection occurs, you can click the AutoCorrect Options button to modify the correction.

Paste Option buttons are immediately available after pasting or using drag and drop. You can specify that the pasted or dropped text keep its original formatting or that it adopt the formatting of surrounding text.

To use an AutoCorrect Options button:

  1. After an autocorrection, move the cursor over the corrected text.

    A blue underline appears under the text.

  2. Move the cursor over the blue underline to reveal the AutoCorrect Options button, and click the button to open the menu circle-q.jpg.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Undo or Change back to restore the original, uncorrected text.
    • Choose Stop Automatically Correcting condition to prevent future instances from being corrected and to delete the item from the Replace list.
    • Choose Control AutoCorrect Options to change your AutoCorrect settings.

To use a Paste Options button:

  1. Immediately after most paste or drag-and-drop operations, a Paste Options button appears circle-r.jpg.
  2. Click the button to reveal its menu, and choose one of the following:
    • Keep Source Formatting. Keep the original formatting for the pasted or dropped text.
    • Match Destination Formatting. Make the pasted text match the formatting of surrounding text.
    • Keep Text Only. Strip the formatting from the pasted or dropped text. (For instance, red italicized text would be reduced to plain black text.)
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