Word: Replace text containing superscript and subscript charactersAugust 6, 2009
Here’s a trick that’s been around since at least Word 6.0! It works in Word 2003, 2007 and 2010, even though this Microsoft Support article might make you think that it only works up to Word 97.
Did you know that you can do a find for something like H2O and replace it with H2O? Let’s assume you are writing or editing a scientific document and there are many instances of H2O, CO2, H2SO4, m3 (cubic metres) etc. scattered throughout. Perhaps the author didn’t know how to create a subscript (Ctrl+=) or superscript (Ctrl+Shift+=) easily, or they thought it didn’t matter, or perhaps they thought the editor would sort it out. Maybe they used a tiny font for the sub or superscript (yes, I’ve seen it…) The end result is the same — the document is peppered with measurements and formulae that should include proper superscripts or subscripts.
Word’s Find and Replace to the rescue… In this example, I’ll use H2O but the same technique applies for anything similar.
- Change one of the incorrect instances of H2O to the correct formatting (H2O).
- Copy the correct format (H2O) to the clipboard (select all the text and then press Ctrl+C).
- Open Word’s Find and Replace (Ctrl+H).
- In the Find what field, type H2O (the incorrect format).
- In the Replace with field, type ^c (that’s a Shift+6 for the caret [^] character and a lower case ‘c‘ — the ‘c’ MUST be lower case).
- Click Replace All.
You’re a hero and you’ve just saved yourself a heap of editing time!
[Links last checked July 2009]