Finding/replacing special formatting characters

This allows you, for example, to find all tabs inserted in a document.

Place the insertion point in the text where you want Word to start the search, or select the relevant text.

From the Home tab, click the Replace button or use the [Ctrl] F or [Ctrl] H keyboard shortcuts, then activate either the Find or Replace tab.

Proceed as you would for any other replacement (or search), but after clicking the More button, use the Special button to choose the relevant special character.

The code representing the character appears (ˆs, for example, represents a non-breaking space, ˆt represents a tab, etc.).

Use the Search Options if you want to specify how the replacements should be made (cf. Finding text).


Here the text San Fran is replaced with San Francisco (with a non-breaking space between San and Francisco).

Click Find Next.

Word selects the first string of characters it finds.

If you want to make the replacements one by one, use the Replace button to replace the selected string of characters and look for the next occurrence. If you click Find Next you continue the search without making the replacement. If you wish to make all the replacements at once, click the Replace All button.

Click OK on the message telling you how many replacements were made.

Close the dialogue box by clicking Close.