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Using More of the Find Command in Word 2007

On a simple level, the Find command in Word 2007 hunts down chunks and chunklettes of text. The Find command, however, is far more powerful than that. You can use the Find command to find text exactly as it's typed, text you can't type, formatting commands, and just about anything in a document. Yes, it's still the same Find command, but it's more.

To unveil this "super find" command, beckon forth the Find and Replace dialog box (press Ctrl+F). Click the More button. The Find and Replace dialog box gets taller, with a bunch of options and doodads at the bottom.

The following list shows why you may want to mess with some of the doodads in the Find More dialog box:

  • Finding an exact bit of text: There's a difference between Curt and curt. One is a name, and the other is being rude and abrupt. To use the Find command to find one and not the other, select the Match Case option under Search Options. That way, Curt matches only words that start with an uppercase C and have lowercase urt in them.
  • Finding a whole word: The Find Whole Words Only option allows you to look for words such as right and set without also finding words like righteous and upset.
  • Finding a bit of text with wildcards: Here's a can-o-worms for you. It's possible to use wildcards to find words that you know only a part of, or a group of words with similar letters. The two basic wildcard characters are ? and *. The ? represents any single letter, and the * represents a group of letters.
    Suppose that you type the following characters in the Find What box:


    If you select the Use Wildcards option (in the More part of the Find and Replace dialog box), Word searches for any three-letter word that starts with any old letter but must end with u and pcup, pup, and sup, for example.
    In contrast, the asterisk finds a group of characters, so the following wildcard locates any word starting with w and ending with s (was, winters, wilderness, Washingtonians, and more):


  • Finding text that sounds like something else: The Sounds Like (English) option allows you to search for homonyms, or words that sound the same as the search word. You know: their and there or deer and dear or hear and here.
    This isn't a rhyming search command. If you try to use it to find everything that rhymes with Doris, for example, it doesn't find Boris, chorus, pylorus, or anything of the like.
  • Finding variations of a word: To make Word search for every variation of walk (walking, walked, and so on), type walk in the Find What box and select the Find All Word Forms (English) option in the Search Options area.
  • Searching this way or that: The Find command can be directed to look not only forward through a document, but backwards as well. The secret lies in the Search drop-down list in the More part of the Find and Replace dialog box:
    • All: When this option is chosen, Find searches the entire document, from the insertion pointer's location down to the end of the document, back up to the beginning, and then back to the toothpick cursor's location.
    • Down: Find searches from the toothpick cursor's location to the end of your document, and then it stops.
    • Up: Find searches from the toothpick cursor's location to the start of your document, backward. Then it stops.

You can also use the Browse buttons to repeat the Find command up or down, depending on which Browse button you press.

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