Software

A Find and Replace trick for inserting new text

Want to insert new text throughout a document without risking errors or typos? Try this simple Find and Replace technique.

You can't use Word (or any Office application) too long without learning a few Find and Replace tricks. This feature really works hard to help you overcome tedious editing tasks. What you might not know is that you can use this feature to insert text. For example, if you wanted to add a newly acquired title to your name, you could search for every occurrence of your name and add the title manually. You might use Find and Replace to search for your name, using the full replacement string as follows: John Doe, MCSE. Both methods will work, but there's a simpler way: Use the ^& code in the Replace With value. The ^& code tells Find and Replace to add the text in the Find What entry to the replacement text. In our simple name example, you'd use the following settings: Find What: John Doe Replace With: ^&, MCSE In such a simple example, it hardly seems to matter, but your task won't always be this simple. You might need to insert text both before and after an existing string or the existing string might be long and unfamiliar, opening the door for typos, which can be hard to troubleshoot in a Find and Replace task. Using ^& to represent the Find What string is an easy way to insert text and keep the Find What string intact.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks