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How to Find something in Word by Search

Quick Rescue:

To search for a term in a Word document, press Ctrl+F on your keyboard to bring up the navigation pane on the left side of your computer monitor. Then click inside the search box and type your search term. Every word in the document that matches your search will be selected.

Microsoft Word allows you to use the find pane to search for specific text in your document.

Your search can contain up to 255 characters which makes it possible to search for not just text, but also complicated phrases.

These 255 characters can contain a variety of wildcards for more advanced and complicated searches.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn the easiest way to search in Word using the find pane. You’ll also learn how to perform an advanced search in Word using the Advanced Find dialog.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

How to search in Word – The simple Method

To search in Word:

  • Press Ctrl+F shortcut to display the navigation pane at the left.
Press Ctrlthe +F to display the navigatin pane
  • In the Search document text box, type the word or phrase you want to search for.
Type in your searxch term in the search bo
  • By default, Word will find and highlight all the matching text in the document as you type in the search box. Thus, if you type the letter p, Word highlights all p in the document. Add the letter u and Word highlights every instance of pu. As you keep on typing the word you want to search, Word narrows the list of matches.

When you are done typing the word or phrase you are searching for, the navigation pane shows you how many matching results it found. Move your mouse pointer over the navigation pane and a scroll bar will appear at the right side of the pane, use this scroll bar to review the results.

Click any result in the list to find it in the main text of your document. To find each matching result, use the Next and Previous search result buttons in the pane to review them one after the other.

More searching options in Word

You can narrow your search to be more specific. For instance, you can make your search case sensitive – so that MS Word will show results taking the cases of your search term into consideration.

To find more search options, obey the instructions below:

  • Press Ctrl+F to display the navigation pane.
  • Select the drop-down arrow next to the search box and click on Options.
Click on the drop-down arrow next to the search box and select options
  • In the Find Options dialog, click to check the options you want.
Check the options you want to perform your search in the Word document

Below are some of the meaning of these find options:

  • Match case tells Word to be case sensitive in its search. This way, the search will match only the exact capitalization specified in the search box. For example, by default, searching for the word – ball, will match any instance of “ball” irrespective of how the cases appear in the document: baLL, BaLL, bALL, ballad, balladist, and so on. However, with Match case enabled, the search for the word ball will match only the word ball in lowercase but not BALL in uppercase.
  • Find whole words only finds whole words. With this option enabled, “ball” will match only the word “ball” standing alone. If “ball” appears within another word, it won’t match as in the preceding example with Match case.
  • Use Wildcards option makes it possible to use a special set of operators to perform advanced searches. For example, with the wildcard option enabled, you can search for words starting or ending with a particular letter or letters.
  • Sounds like (English) option matches words that are pronounced or spelled the same way but have different meanings. This option isn’t perfect, but it works fairly well.
  • Find all words forms (English) – this option will match all forms of words that share the same root as the search term. For example, the word resolve would match resolved, resolving, resolvable and resolvability.
  • Match prefix options matches words beginning with some specific characters. For example, with this option enabled, you can search for words in your document that begins with inter, while at the same time ignoring matches that contains inter elsewhere within the word.
  • Match suffix option matches words ending with some specific characters. For instance, when Match suffix is enabled, you can search for words in your document that ends with ing whilst
  • Ignore punctuation characters perform the search while ignoring punctuation characters in the spelling. For example, assuming a document uses a thing like mis(guide)ance to stress something about a word. A search for misguidance would find mis(guide)ance irrespective of the brackets within the word.
  • Ignore white-space characters matches words that might be separated by spaces or tabs. For example, with this option enabled, a search for Microsoft would match Micro[tab/space]soft.

How to search within a selection in Word

The Advance Find uses the Find and Replace dialog box to perform a more advanced search in Word. For example, with the Advance Find, you can search for a particular word within a selection in the whole document.

To do that, obey the instruction below:

  • Select the text within which you want to limit your search to.
  • Go to Home>Editing>Find arrow>Advanced Find.
Go to Home>Editing>Find arror>Advanced Find
  • The Advanced Find dialog box will appear. Click on the Find tab.
  • Type the search term in the Find what field.
  • At the bottom of the window, click on the Find in button and select Current selection from the dropdown.
advance search in word document
  • After selecting Current Selection, close the dialog.

As soon as you close the Find and Replace dialog, every match in the selection will be highlighted gray.

These are the various ways you may perform both basic and advanced searches in MS Word.