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Editing: Beyond the Basics

As mentioned previously, the basic editing techniques were discussed in Chapter 1. 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 has recently changed its name from Bob's Plumbing to Widgets Inc. Using the Replace command, you can replace every instance of the old name with the new one. Refer to Table 3.3 (on the next page) for a list of special Find options.

Table 3.3. Special Find 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 to find (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

  1. Choose Edit > Find or press cmdf.gif.

    The Find and Replace dialog box appears (Figure 3.10). The Find tab is selected.


    Figure 3.10 Type the text you want to find in the Find what text box.

  2. Type a search string in the Find what box.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To find the next instance of the search string, click Find Next.

      Word searches for the string, starting from the current insertion point. If it finds the string, it is automatically highlighted in the document (Figure 3.11).


      Figure 3.11 When a Find or Find and Replace search locates a match, Word scrolls as necessary to highlight the found text.

    • To find and highlight all instances of the search string, click the check box to Highlight all items found in, choose an option from the drop-down menu (such as Main Document or Current Selection), and click Find All.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To search for the next occurrence of the text string (when searching for individual occurrences), click Find Next. Repeat as necessary to find additional matches.
    • If you're done searching, click the Cancel button or the close box.

To replace text

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Edit > Replace ( shiftcmdh.gif). The Find and Replace dialog box appears. The Replace tab is selected (Figure 3.12).

      Figure 3.12 Type the search string in the Find what box and the replacement text in the Replace with box.

    • Choose Edit > Find ( cmdf.gif). The Find and Replace dialog box appears. Click the Replace tab.
  2. Type a search string in the Find what text box.

  3. In the Replace with text box, type the replacement string and click Find Next.

    Word searches for the text. If it finds an instance of the string, that instance is highlighted in the document.

  4. Click Replace to replace the text or Find Next to search for the next occurrence of the search string.

    Repeat this step until you're done or until Word notifies you that it has finished searching the document.

Automatically entering text

The AutoText feature is designed to save you from repetitively typing text. AutoText enables you to quickly insert any amount of 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 (Figure 3.16).

    Figure 3.16 Select the text that will become the new AutoText entry.

    The selected text must consist of at least five characters.

  2. Choose Insert > AutoText > New.

    The Create AutoText dialog box appears and suggests a name (Figure 3.17).


    Figure 3.17 The Create AutoText dialog appears and suggests a name for the new entry. Edit it as desired.

  3. Optional: Replace the suggested name with one of your own.

    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

  1. 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 (Figure 3.18).

    Figure 3.18 Whenever you type four characters that Word recognizes as a possible AutoText entry, you are offered the opportunity to insert it in the document.

  2. Do one of the following:
    • To accept the AutoText replacement, press enter.gif or return.gif.
    • To ignore the proposed AutoText replacement, continue typing.

Working with smart buttons

To make certain edits more flexible, Word and Excel provide smart buttons. A smart button is a pop-up icon that—when clicked—displays a menu of options. 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 (Figure 3.21) 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 has occurred, you can click the AutoCorrect Options button to modify the correction.


Figure 3.21 The AutoCorrect tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box contains the list of items that will automatically be corrected in your documents.

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 button. Click the button to open the drop-down menu (Figure 3.22).

    Figure 3.22 When the button appears, click it to open the drop-down menu.

  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 modify your AutoCorrect settings (see Figure 3.22).

To use a Paste Options button

  1. Immediately following most paste or drag-and-drop operations, a Paste Options button appears (Figure 3.23).

    Figure 3.23 A Paste Options button allows you to control the formatting of pasted text.

  2. Click the button to reveal the drop-down menu.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Keep Source Formatting to keep the original formatting for the pasted or dropped text.
    • Choose Match Destination Formatting to change the text formatting of the pasted or dragged text to match that of the surrounding text and paragraph.
    • Choose Keep Text Only to strip all previously applied formatting from the pasted or dropped text. (For instance, text that was colored red and italicized would be reduced to plain, black text.)
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