Find / Replace

MS Word for Writers Intermediate Skills You Wish You'd Known Before You Started Writing Your Book
24 minutes
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Now we're ready to explore the Find and Replace options that exist on your computer. So on the Home tab, very far out to the right in the editing area, you'll notice there is Find and Replace they are two separate tools though you'll also hear them spoken about together. The find button when you click this will open up a navigation area on the left hand side of your screen, whereby you could search for a certain word and find all of the results listed chronologically through your document. This first one is on page 51. If you hover page 85, page 90 and so on and so forth. That find area will allow you to search out a word and in this case, I have searched for the word judgment.

Now, one of the possibilities you might use for Find and Replace is if you have a word that you commonly misspell You don't feel like using spellcheck to snag it. Or it's a made up word. Maybe you're writing science fiction or fantasy like this book is, you can search for that very unusual word in its myriad of spellings. But in this case, I've looked up a word that has a different spelling in US English versus UK English. Often in UK English, you'll see this spelled with an E in the center between the G and the M. Now, I could either do it the longhand way of clicking into each spot in my document where that exists and adding the E one by one. Or I could use the more efficient method of grabbing this replace feature from the toolbar at the top right there.

So I'm going to open the Find and Replace tool. You'll notice now we get a dialog box at the top of our screen. It does have the old find tab on there, but this one is even more powerful. You can search for a word and automatically replace it with some other text. So in this example, if I was going to look for ways to more convert to British English, I could search the text for the word judgment without the E and replace it with judgment with that center, he and I can either have it replace one by one, in which case it would make that replace him and move me on to the next example. Or I can choose replace all which would make all of those changes and then either ask me Do I want to go back and continue from the beginning or would change throughout the document.

So in addition to that first one that we changed it made for other replacements and it reports back to us. This is all well and good when you're working with a very long or distinctive word. My caution for Find and Replace might be if you Replacing a short word with something else. I have an author friend who wants to change the character name from joy to Samantha, because she didn't want her readers to get confused about the emotion versus the person, especially when the name began a sentence because then that capital letter threw people off. So here's my word of caution in changing joy to Samantha and changing her name, sometimes in the document, other characters, and Samantha did what they were doing so instead of enjoying the view, or enjoying the music, they end Samantha the view or and Samantha in the music. So just be cautious about what you're finding and what you're replacing.

Now, I'm going to close that navigation pane to give us a little more room on our document. And I'm going to take us back up to the top of the document as well and show you some other cool things that you can use, Find and Replace to accommodate We mentioned earlier in the word wrap section, I believe that folks who trained on typewriters as our first typing method, learned to put two spaces at the ends of sentences instead of just one. And I have set up this document, which is the opening of a really fantastic book. This is an early draft of a book by a friend of mine named DC McLaughlin. So if you're into fantasy worlds, you might want to look her up. She's a super author who gave me permission to use her early draft here.

So be aware. As with all early drafts, this is not front stage material. It's not meant to be friend stage material. And if you're a writer, just as a tip Do not worry about all the glitz and glamour until you've been able to write the end on your manuscript. It's far more important than going back and revising chapter 112 times because, honestly, once you get to chapter the end You're going to have a whole new vision on how the beginning should be anyway. Okay, well, that much aside, I have gone in and added two spaces between all of the sentences just to be able to show you how to take them out.

So if you're someone that has done this in the past, or if you're editing, freelance editing or working for a house, and you want to be able to make these changes, this is a terrific way to learn and add tricks to your tool belt. So we're going to actually search for spots that have space space. So in the find box, it's very hard to see but I actually just typed space with using the spacebar and then followed up with a second space. Okay. I'm going to have the document search for spots where there are two spaces and replace it with just one. So in this top box, I've typed two spaces in the bottom box, I typed just one and I'm going to ask it to replace all because I'm pretty sure there are no spots where there are two spaces that I didn't Don't want to have one of them removed, it will take a few moments.

And notice, wow, Oh, my gosh, there were over 4000 instances in my document, probably 4000 sentences where it replaced the two spaces with just one. And that would have been very button numbing and have required some liquid medication to get through if you'd had to do them one at a time if you'd been asked by your editor. Okay, here are a couple of other nice tricks you might want to know. Using that show hide button that we learned in the paragraph, characteristics video. I'm going to turn that on so we can see some background of what's going on in the text beyond having gotten rid of those double two spaces between sentences there. Okay.

Now we mentioned earlier in that same video, that the backwards p the paragraph symbol indicates anytime that the Enter key has been pressed. We also see a couple of other things here, we see dots, who there's a space at the beginning of that line. That's a little weird. And we also see these arrows. Now, because my friend uses an earlier version of Microsoft Word, when she began formatting this book that's several years old. Now, she used tabs.

To move things further to the right on the screen to indent her new paragraphs, she used a tab and she put an extra return hard return in between every paragraph. Now, you can imagine that using tabs to center things is not going to be the most accurate possibility but because this was just a draft, none of us even cared it was completely irrelevant until we get to the point of preparing the document for release which is what we're going to imitate right now. Now, it would be Quite a pain in the took us to go through and have to delete all of the tabs in the document in order to effect change, especially these ones that happen at the beginning of every paragraph throughout the document. So here is a very secret way to use Find and Replace to do that, what you're looking for instead of you can't press the Tab key and have it show up as a tab.

But the way to address that is by using its formatting name, it's carrot T, and you type the carrot by holding down the shift key and typing the number six to see that little upside down V on top of your six key. It won't be found on the numeric keypad, but rather than numbers that are across the top of your alphabet keyboard. So this is the symbol for tab we're going to find all of the tabs and replace them with Guess what? We're going to replace them with nothing. So I'm making sure that that field is deleted, completely empty. So I'm going to find the tabs and replace it with nothing.

And I'm going to use the Replace All feature. And let's watch what happens. Okay, it started out it made 291 replacements and it's asking do I want to continue from the beginning? I'm going to say yes. Wow, 298 replacements All told, do you notice how it not only took the tabs the multiple tabs that were trying to center the header here, but it also removed the tabs at the beginning of every paragraph. For me, this is progress.

Now, the next piece of progress that I want to make is removing these extra blank lines. Because when we format for fiction, if you'll remember from that same paragraph video, we want to have our paragraphs indented but no space in between the paragraphs. So the next thing we're going to need to do is have the document find everywhere. Where there's a paragraph return and that's carrot P. Anywhere that there are two of those in a row, like here, followed by this one, or after prologue to that blank line, we're going to have the computer find everywhere that there's two hard returns in a row and replace it with just one. So I'm going to find carrot p carrot p, I replace it with just carrot P. So double space replaced with single, hit replace all and wow, that was 2000. Some paragraphs that used to have a double space between them not using the line spacing feature, but rather hard returns between them that we're going to slow down our final formatting of the document.

So now those are gone. And we're ready to apply those indents that we learned earlier. So for just a moment, I'm going to close our Find and Replace box we will come back to it because there's something else I want to share. That may have crept into your manuscript in the writing process. But now I'm going to take us back and going to apply that first line indent that we learned in the basics to our full document. And the way that I'm going to do that for now, again, we haven't gotten to styles yet, so I'm going to show you the old school way.

We're going to select all of the text in our entire document. And I know that will include some of our chapter headings and things too, but it will be easier to set those back to rights than it would be to select every paragraph in the entire book, which is quite lengthy at this point. So do you remember how to select all the text in your document? There are a couple different ways. One is from the Home ribbon toolbar out here at the right, you can select and then from the drop down arrow to select all or you can use a keyboard shortcut Ctrl or Command A There's a third way we learned last section, which was to triple click in the margin. Oops, there we go.

All of these will select all the text in your document all at once. So you can affect change on a widespread level without needing to do it page by page or paragraph by paragraph. You remember that the spot we saw that helps us access, the indentation can be accessed either here on the line and Paragraph Spacing button. And by choosing line spacing options, or it can be accessed from the More button in the paragraph area, I'm going to use the More button area because I like seeing this entire box and it's a one click instead of two clicks to get here. Okay, so what I want to do in terms of alignment, for the moment, I'm in a draft form, so I could leave it at left aligned, but if I'm getting ready to format for print, I may choose to go with justify Because that right and left hand flush, is not really a choice in publishing.

You want that flat paragraph in because it's standard you want your books to meet the expectations of your readers. I'm just trying to grab one off of my desk right now to demonstrate how the left and right edges of the text are justified there. You may choose to have first line indent since we're writing fiction in this example, we're going to have it indent, and you could leave it at half an inch or if you're formatting for a more narrow book, you might drop that down to three tenths of an inch or even two tenths of an inch. We want to have in fiction again, no space before or after the paragraphs. And I'm going to opt with 1.15 line spacing between the text Okay, then Click OK. And Wella throughout my document. Now, I've added that indent in.

It's not using tabs, which may vary based on the printer that we send it to. So that's one of the reasons to get rid of tabs in that final format. But you'll see even beyond that first page, it removed all those extra blank lines in between. And we've added that first line indent back. All I would need to do now is go through at my chapter breaks and reformat the way that I want to do those. So getting rid of any indents from those chapter headers and formatting the way and again later on when we tackle styles, all of that magic is just going to sparkle because in a one click wonder, you can identify your chapters quickly and set them all to the same formats but for now, baby steps.

Okay. As we still have these show hide features Characters turned on, I want to point out one more thing that may be troublesome in your document, especially if you're formatting an E book. Notice how at the beginning of this first line, there's a space in there. It's hard to see when we don't have the characters turned on. But it's easy to see when we see that dot out the beginning of the line. This has happened anywhere else in the book.

Yep, here again. Now, you may not notice this at all, as you're doing your final read throughs. But a trained editor probably will. And it's possible that some of your readers would notice that extra indent, or appearance of an indent at the beginning of lines when they get the final book because here we can see clearly, the beginning of these short paragraphs does not line up. There's something there that could come out. We can again, use Find and Replace with some of my secret tricks to get rid of those spaces that appear At the beginnings of lines, so open up that replace tool.

And this time, we're going to ask it to find a spot where there has been a hard return, followed by a space. So how do we make that paragraph, carrot p, followed by a space. That's what we're finding carrot p followed by a space. So anywhere there was a hard return followed by a space, and we're going to replace it with just the hard return. So just the carrot p, ready to click Replace. It found 25 on that first pass.

And I say first pass, because what if there were two spaces at the beginning of the line? Notice it did find the one here and here, but if there were any spots that had two spaces that would not have come up on our first path. So I'm gonna have it do a replace all again. And wow, it did find two Two more spots that needed to be done, there were two spaces at the beginning of the line instead. So I would encourage you to run this replace all until the number comes back with zero. So there was apparently one spot that had three spaces at the beginning of line.

So we're just going to keep running that it had four, Oh, my, we're going to keep running that until we get zero. And if you go on a few times, and it's not done, maybe there's a ton of spaces there. Oh, that's what it is. I just clicked the Find Next button and it took me to the spot where this happens. You wouldn't notice all the spaces, you might think they were a tab or something without this feature turned on. So this allows you to know space space space, I'm going to use my delete key to forward delete all those extra spaces so that we don't have to keep running the program for just that one over and over and over again.

Makes sense. And then I delete that indent from my scene break and remember How to center it. Here in that paragraph area, you can just set your scene break to center. Make sense? I hope you enjoyed this feature. It's really terrific.

There is one last area that I might point out. This affects authors more frequently than having spaces at the beginning of the sentence, but it's having extra spaces at the end of the paragraph. And this might affect an ebook, especially if you're viewing it on something with a very narrow screen like one of the smaller phones. Having those extra spaces could cause the paragraphs in your ebook to run over awkwardly. So we can get rid of those in the same way but we have to figure out what it is we're replacing. So open up your replace button.

And in the find box, we're going to be looking for spots that have a space followed by a paragraph return. So we're going to find space, carat p and replace it with just carrot P. So essentially, we'll get rid of this space. Notice here before we begin, there's one here at the end of the below, one at the end of a loan one at the end of the ellipsis, after wanted, one after temper, almost every paragraph on this page has that space canopy. And probably there are some spots in the document that have two or more spaces there. So we're going to find those first space care at p replaced with canopy and we're going to replace all so on a first pass it fixed 814 instances. And we can see right away it fixed all the ones that are on our opening page.

But like I mentioned before, there may be spots where there were two spaces already, so one of them is gone. Now let's run this replace all again and see if it finds any more. This time I found nine. I'm going to keep running this until we get down to one and hopefully zero That time it found three. There's one. And I'm just going to switch to find next since there's only one spot where existed, Oh, here we go something similar so in a scene break there spaces after.

So I'm just going to drop in and instead of running that find replace 10 or 12 times I'm just going to drop in, delete all those extra spaces, then I'm going to backspace and center, my scene break. Make sense. So now I have true centering and I don't have extra spaces ahead of or after, Ah, oh my i see something else on the screen that I should bring to your attention. I nearly forgot. In some of the older versions of Word there was something called a soft return where the carriage return would go to a new line. But notice how it spreads all these words out because we've done the right the full justified alignment.

We need to get rid of these funky returns here. How do we do that? Okay, let me scooch this up here. So we can see where we have this soft line break. It's also known as a manual line break. And I believe the way that it gets in there is when the shift key is held down at the same time as enter, Shift Enter, I believe is how that gets there been a while.

The way you can refine those and replace them is with carrot L. So if you didn't know what that was, or some other characters that you're not sure how to put them in the find box. Notice that there is a more box here that will open up a whole other options set of options of things to use within your Find and Replace. So this specific line break is down here in the bottom. It's a special character. And notice when I click that drop down arrow, it allows us to choose all sorts of things. Maybe there's a non breaking space Breaking hyphens, you might use a non breaking space, if you wanted to keep certain letters paired together.

Like let's say you were abbreviating FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation and you wanted F, period B period, I period all to appear together and not get broken across any lines, you could use a non breaking space in between them. I believe that shift space if you're typing anyway, right now we're looking for the manual line break, which is what makes those little backwards arrows. So that you'll see when you type that in, it adds the carrot bell. So we only need one of those we're searching for anywhere that has that manual line break, and we're going to replace it with the hard line break, which is the carrot P. So let's just find them one at a time. couldn't find any at the beginning. We're no research from the beginning.

Ah, there's one on page eight. Let's replace that one. Move down here. So one on page nine. Let's just go ahead And replace all. And it will tell us if found 12 of those soft breaks, soft line breaks through our whole document 12 all together, or maybe 13 because that first one was counted separately.

So this is something that may or may not appear in your document, but a way that you can use to find it. If you want to look for other special kinds of characters or formatting, that you can't figure out how to type that in the find box. Just know that when you open up the More button here on your replace feature, it opens up all sorts of possibilities, one of which is allowing a search to match case. So in the case of the word joy being changed to Samantha the name, you may want to choose to have it find only uppercase versions of joy and replace them with Samantha and it will be case sensitive. Just remember again, we're to the wise that if joy is is a word that begins a sentence it's going to have a capital letter, whether it's a noun, or a name.

So tackle your Find and Replace with ease. But also with caution if you're replacing a short word with a longer word or a short word that may appear as part of a longer word. Enjoy

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