How to Use Wildcards to Replace Text in MS Word

In this tutorial, we look at how to use the wildcard option in the File and Replace menu to replace text in your MS Word documents.

Wildcards help you search for:

  • Variations of words
  • Multiple words at once
  • Similar groups of words.
  • Find specific letters
  • Search for text

For example, the asterisk (*) wildcard searches for a string of characters (for example, “f*g” finds “fog” and “frog”).

How to Use Wildcards to Replace Text in MS Word

  1. On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the arrow next to Find, and then click Advanced Find.
  2. Select the Use wildcards check box
  3. Do one of the following:

To choose a wildcard character from a list, click Special, click a wildcard character, and then type any additional text in Find what.

Type a wildcard character directly in Find what.

If you want to replace the item, click the Replace tab, and then type what you want to use as a replacement in the Replace with box.

  1. Click Find Next, Find All, Replace, or Replace All.

MS Word Wildcard Cheatsheet

Use the following wildcard cheat sheet to refine your searches:

To find Use this For example
Any single character ? f?g finds “fog” and “fig.”
Any string of characters * f*g finds “fog” and “frog”
One of the specified characters [ ] r[eo]d finds “red” and “rod.”
Any single character in this range [-] [c-v]an finds “can” and “dan” and “van.”

Ranges must be in ascending order.

Any single character except the characters inside the brackets [!] st[!a]ck finds “stick” and “stuck” but not “stack.”
Any single character except characters in the range inside the brackets [!x-z] l[!a-m]ck finds “lock” and “luck” but not “lack” or “lick.”

Ranges must be in ascending order.

Exactly n occurrences of a character or expression n} fe{2}d finds “feed” but not “fed.”
At least n occurrences of a character or expression n,} fe{1,}d finds “fed” and “feed.”
A range of occurrences of a character or expression nn} 10{1,3} finds “10,” “100,” and “1000.”
One or more occurrences of a character or expression @ bo@t finds “bot” and “boot.”
The beginning of a word < <(inter) finds “interesting” and “intercept” but not “splintered.”
The end of a word > (in)> finds “in” and “within,” but not “interesting.”

Thousands of templates to jump start your project

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan

 

 

Want More Writing Tactics?

Over 127,000 readers rely on Klariti every month. Sign up now for Ivan’s fresh writing strategies, practical advice, and resources delivered to your inbox each week.