When you copy and paste the contents of a Word document into another application, the receiving application usually respects (processes) blank lines. For instance, if you paste a Word document into an Excel spreadsheet, the blank lines from the Word document translate into blank rows in the spreadsheet.

Most of the time, those blank lines are welcome because they preserve the vertical spacing of the text you copied. But from time to time, you’ll run into an application that ignores or suppresses blank lines when you paste data copied from a Word document. Here’s what to do when you need to stamp blank lines with a placeholder.

In general, you can define a blank line in a Word document as two paragraph markers (hard line breaks) in a row. Assuming your document contains no more than one blank line in a row, the Find And Replace dialog box can help you preserve the vertical spacing while stamping the blank lines with placeholder text.

  1. Press [Ctrl]H to open the Find And Replace dialog box.
  2. In the Find What field, click the More button, choose Special, choose Paragraph Mark, and then repeat the selection.
  3. Tab to the Replace With field, choose Special | Paragraph Mark, type the placeholder text (such as [Blank line] or an asterisk), and then enter another paragraph mark. Your selection should look similar to that shown in Figure A.
  4. Click Replace All, and Word will replace each occurrence of two consecutive hard returns with the text you specified.

Figure A

When you copy and paste the text into another application, the document will preserve the “blank” lines, and your placeholder text will make them easily identifiable.

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