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The Find and Replace feature of a word processor makes it easy to find text and optionally replace it with other text. Word's Find and Replace feature, which was reworked for Word 2011, is extremely powerful and flexible making it easy to find and replace not only text but formatting in your documents. Let's explore how this feature works. Now, in my example I've got the word e-tailer and e-tailers reused repeatedly. You could see it down here, for example e-tailer, and the bosses decided that they don't like that word and they want to replace it with the phrase "electronic retailer" or "electronic retailers." So what I am going to do is I'll get started by choosing Edit > Find, and then Find.
Now what happens is it looks like it hasn't really done anything but in reality it has. This positioned the insertion point up here in this spotlight search box and I do want to point out we really didn't need to use that command to get up here. We could have just clicked up here. So I am going to type in the word e- tailer. which you can see right there. and that's the word I want to search for and as I started typing you may have noticed text was being selected in the document. So all the instances of e-tailer throughout the document are now selected.
There is another one over there. Now clicking the Spotlight menu displays two different options. I can either List Matches in the Sidebar or choose Replace. Let's first start off by listing the matches in the sidebar. So what you can see is it went through the document and it found all these different occurrences and I can click on any of them and go right to it. What I really want to do though is I want to replace that word with another word. So I am going to click this little triangle here and that will expand the Find and Replace box.
I can see the word I found right here and what I want to do is I want to replace it with electronic retailer. So I will type that in. Now the Actions menu, which you see right here, offers a few other options. Whole Word Only will only find the word if it's a whole word. Now we don't want to do that because we want to find e-tailer as well as e-tailers with an s at the end, so we will leave that turned off. Ignore Case will find either upper or lower e-tailer, which is fine.
Sounds Like will find homonyms, which there aren't any for this, and All Word Forms would find words that include s at the end or ing or ed and its different forms of the same word. In our particular case this wouldn't work because you can't have anything but text characters in the word. Now we have a hyphen, so we'd leave this set just the way it is right here. I have already found them all, so what I can do is I can click Replace and it will replace the one that was selected, and it will automatically move onto the next one.
So, this is the next one. If I click Replace it will replace that one and move on again and as you could see this list of matches is getting smaller and smaller because every time I replace one it's being removed. Now if I didn't want to remove these one at a time, if I just wanted to get rid of them all at once, I can click Replace All and it takes care of it all at once. Now there is no more matches because there is no more instances of e-tailer here and it's all completed. Now you might be relieved to know that if you click the Replace All button and immediately regret it, Undo is there to save you.
Just pull down the Edit menu, choose Undo Replace All, and it will bring the words back. To highlight them again, you will just need to click Find and you will see them all. Those are the ones that we replaced all at once. It's not the ones that we started with. Now if you've been using Word for a while you probably realize that everything we've seen so far is brand-new in Word 2011. If you prefer to use the old Find and Replace dialog you could open it by choosing Edit > Find > Advanced Find and Replace, and that brings up the old Find and Replace dialog, you click the Replace button to expand it and if you wanted more options you can click this disclosure triangle here to expand the dialog, and this gives you access to a few more features for using Find and Replace.
Now as we've seen here, Word 2011 puts its Find and Replace features right inside the document window through the use of Mac OS Spotlight style searching and a Find and Replace pane in the sidebar. Although you could still use this old Find and Replace dialog for Basic and Advanced searching, the sidebar does make it easier to edit with Find and Replace.
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