Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Making Fast, Consistent Changes in Microsoft Word

Fun with Find and Replace

Find and Replace is a basic, and too often overlooked, feature in Microsoft Word. Here we’ll step you through just a few operations you can perform with Find and Replace that will eliminate a lot of editorial tedium and prevent overlooked details.

Curly vs. Straight Quotes: Have you ever pasted something from Notepad into a regular Word file and ended up with something that looks like this?

Here's a sentence of two from Notepad. Notice the "straight" quotes and apostrophe. Now here’s the existing text in Word. See how the quotes are “curly”?

Unformatted Notepad text has quotes and apostrophes that stick straight up and down. Formatted Word text has quotes and apostrophes that angle in to set off the words they surround. When curly and straight quotes mix on the page, 99% of readers won’t notice or care. The remaining 1% hate this sort of inconsistency. So if you’re one of those sticklers, here’s how to fix it:

1.        Press Ctrl + H to bring up the Find and Replace box.

2.        Enter an apostrophe in both the Find and Replace fields.

3.        Select Replace All.

4.        Word will change all the straight apostrophes to curly apostrophes, and will leave the curly apostrophes alone.

5.        Repeat these steps for quotation marks.

Replacing Text with Graphics: Suppose you’re working on a document where you want to replace instances of a company name with a graphic of its logo. It requires a few more steps than your typical Find and Replace, but here’s how to do it.

1.        Insert the logo somewhere into the text. It can be anywhere. You just need to click on it and press Ctrl + V to copy the image onto your Clipboard and remove it from the text.

2.        Now press Ctrl + H to bring up the Find and Replace box.

3.        Enter the company name in the Find field.

4.        Put the cursor in the Replace field. Click the More button in the lower left-hand corner, then click Special and select Clipboard Contents (see below).

  1. Click Replace or Replace All, depending on whether or not you want to replace every instance of the company name.

Case-Sensitive Find and Replace. This is useful if you’re working on a document which contains both capitalized and lower-case versions of the same word. Suppose you’re writing about a trademarked product whose name includes some very common word. You need to make sure the trademark symbol appears after the product name, but not after every instance of the word. For example:

Miss Kitty’s Cat Trees look just like real trees – but cats don’t have to go outdoors to climb them. Models include pecan, walnut, and willow trees. Try Miss Kitty’s Cat Trees when you’re tired of calling the fireman to get that pesky cat out of your tree!

To make sure Miss Kitty’s Cat Trees™ is properly trademarked while ensuring that “trees” is not, do the following:

  1. Insert the trademark symbol after Trees.
  2. Highlight Trees™ and press Ctrl + C.
  3. Press Ctrl + H to bring up the Find and Replace box.
  4. Type Trees in the Find field.
  5. Click in the Replace field and press Ctrl + V to paste.
  6. Click More.
  7. Check off the box that says “Match Case.” This will ensure that the computer will only look for capitalized instances of “Trees.”

  1. Click Replace All. In order to avoid trademarking generic instances of “trees” when they start a sentence (for example, “Trees are something cats love”), click Find Next so that you can approve each replacement individually. Or search on the whole phrase “Miss Kitty’s Cat Trees” and do a Replace All with “Miss Kitty’s Cat Trees™”.

Don’t go combing through long documents when you have global changes to make – you’ll go cross-eyed with boredom and probably miss some crucial details. The Find and Replace function can make your life a whole lot easier


No comments: