Transposing a list of names is a fairly easy task for Word's Replace feature. Susan Harkins shows you how it works.
You'll often see a column of names entered in a Word document either as a list or part of a table. Listing the names is no problem, but changing their order after they're entered could be. For instance, let's say your document contains a list of names entered in firstname lastname format, but you want them in lastname, firstname format. Do you have to re-enter them? No, there's a simple wildcard trick you can use with Word's Replace feature that will take care of the transposing for you.To get Word to transform a list or column of names, do the following:
- Select the list of names you want to transpose.
- From the Edit menu, choose Replace. In Word 2010, click Replace in the Editing group on the Home tab.
- Click the More button and check the Use Wildcards option. This is an important step—if you miss it, this technique won't work.
- In the Find What control, enter (<*>) (<*>), with a space character between the two sets.
- In the Replace With control, enter the following characters \2, \1, with a space character before the second slash character.
- Click Replace All. Word will transpose the first and last names and separate them with a comma character.
- When Word asks you to expand the search, click No, and then Close to return to the document.
Once you understand the wildcards, the whole trick is easily exposed:
- (): The parentheses aren't true wildcards, not in a matching sense. They allow you to divide a pattern into logical sequences.
- <>: The brackets mark the beginning and ending of a word or phrase.
- \: The slash character replaces characters, and is used with a number that specifies a bracketed component (above).
What's the most interesting wildcard code you've used and how to you apply it?