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Word: Find text and make it italic

May 31, 2010

I’ve been exposed to a LOT of citations since I’ve been editing scientific reports for my main client. Our editorial guide instructs authors to italicize ‘et al‘ in a citation, but many forget to do so. Or they copy a section from another document and paste it as unformatted text (as we want them to do), thus losing the italic formatting for that string of text.

Using Word’s Find/Replace function, I can quickly find all unformatted et al’s and make them italic.

Here’s how… (these instructions apply to both word 2003 and Word 2007)

  1. Open Word’s Find and Replace dialog box (Ctrl+H).
  2. Click the More button to expand the find/replace options.
  3. In the Find what field, type et al
  4. Click the Format button, then select Font.
  5. Select Regular from the Font Style list in the Find Font dialog box, then click OK. ‘Format: Font: Not Bold, Not Italic’ is added immediately below the Find what text box.
  6. In the Replace with field, type et al
  7. Click the Format button, then select Font.
  8. Select Italic from the Font Style list in the Find Font dialog box, then click OK. ‘Format: Font: Italic’ is added immediately below the Find what text box.
  9. Click Replace All.

You’re only limited by your imagination — you can use the same procedure for changing any font formatting for a particular text string, such as making it bold or small caps etc. Just make sure you put in the text for which you want to change the formatting into BOTH the Find and Replace fields.

Oh, and if you’re doing several find/replaces without closing Word in between you’ll see that Format option below the find and replace fields. To remove it, place your cursor in each field respectively and click the No Formatting button.

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