Replacing with "Find What Text"

If you’re faced with a complex task using Microsoft Word’s Find and Replace feature, the “Find What Text” replacement code may come in handy. For example, let’s say you need to add the HTML italic tags and around anything formatted with italic. (If you don’t understand HTML, don’t worry. You’ll soon see the point of this article.) You might think you’d need a macro to add the tags, but you don’t. You can easily do it like this:

1. Open the document you want to tag.

2. Open the Find and Replace dialog (click on the Edit menu; then click “Replace”).

3. With your cursor in the “Find What” box, turn on italic formatting (CTRL + I) so that the word “Italic” is displayed below the box. Make sure the box itself is empty.

4. In the “Replace With” box, enter “^&” (if you want, you can also set this box to “Not Italic” by pressing CTRL + I a couple of times).

5. Click the “Replace All” button.

Any italicized text will be surrounded by the HTML italic tags.

The ^& code in the “Replace With” box represents the text you specified in the “Find What” box. In this case, that’s any text with italic formatting. What you’re saying is, “Find any text in italic and replace it with *itself* surrounded by HTML italic codes.”

As a specific example, let’s take the following line, with asterisks indicating italic formatting:

“This is a test to *see* what will happen.”

When you use the Find and Replace procedure above, you’ll get the following result:

“This is a test to see what will happen.”

You can use the same principle to manipulate text in a variety of ways:

* Put quotation marks around the titles of magazine articles that an author has italicized.

* Insert a bullet in front of every paragraph formatted with Heading 3 style. (You knew you could find style formatting, right? In the Find or Replace dialog, click the “More” button [if available], then “Format,” and then “Style.”)

* Insert “Chapter” in front of every number formatted with Heading 1 style.

And so on. Any time you need to add something to unspecified text that’s formatted in a specific way, try using “Find What Text.”

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