Word: Find all words with two or more capital letters

July 9, 2018

Someone in one of my online editing groups wanted to find all the acronyms and initialisms in their document—any word comprising two or more capital (‘cap’) letters (e.g. AB, CDEF, GHIJK, etc.). They wanted a command that would find each one so they could check it (possibly against a glossary), then click Find Next to jump to the next one.

Wildcards to the rescue!

Here’s how:

  1. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace window.
  2. Click the Find tab (we only want to find these, not replace them with anything else).
  3. Click More to show further options.
  4. Select the Use wildcards checkbox.
  5. In the Find what field, type: <[A-Z]{2,}>
  6. Click Find next to find the first string of two or more caps.
  7. Keep clicking Find next to jump to the next string of two or more caps.

How this works:

  • The opening and closing arrow brackets (< and >) specify that you want a single whole word, not parts of a word. Without these, you would find each set of caps (e.g. in the string ABCDEF, you would find ABCDEF, then BCDEF, then CDEF, then DEF, then EF, before moving on to the next set of caps).
  • [A-Z] specifies that you want a range (the [ ] part) of caps that fall somewhere in the alphabet (A-Z). If you only wanted capped words that started with, say, H through to M, then you’d change the range to [H-M] and all other capped words starting with other letters would be ignored.
  • {2,} means you want to find capped words with at least two letters in the specified range (i.e. A-Z). If you only wanted to find two- and three-letter capped words, then you’d change this to {2,3}, and all capped word of four or more letters would be ignored. By not specifying a number after the comma, the ‘find’ will find capped words of any length containing at least two letters.



  1. […] previously wrote about using wildcards in Word to find abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms that used two or more capit…, but that post didn’t address how to highlight these so that you can identify them easily […]

  2. This doesn’t work for things that also have lower case letters. For example, this search finds NOL but not NOLs.

  3. Hi Teresa

    That’s true — computers follow logic, so if you say look only for caps (which is what that wildcard find/replace does) and nothing else, then that’s what it’ll look for. If you wanted a word that contained a string of caps AND either started or ended with a lower case letter (e.g. NOLs, aMDEA), then you’d need to specify that in a different way. Similarly, if you needed to find a string of caps with punctuation (e.g. apostrophe, hyphen, en dash etc.), then you’d need a different Find string.


  4. Hi, I don’t know if you’re still answering questions on here but thought I’d try:
    I am trying to edit a file that I have using Word. I would like to change all the text between parentheses (throughout the file) from upper case to lower case. Is there a way to do this using Wildcards?
    For example: Oh… (INHALES DEEPLY) change to Oh… (inhales deeply)

  5. I’ll take a look at this later and see if I can come up with a solution.


  6. Hi Wordly1

    I couldn’t find an easy way to do this without using a macro (I might look at that later) because wildcard F&R doesn’t allow you to specify case at all. However, I found a way to find them easily. Once found, you could then manually press Shift+F3 to toggle the case, then click Find Next etc.. To find them, turn on wildcards, then put this in the Find What field: \(([A-Z]*)\)


  7. Thank you Rhonda. Yes, that’s kind of what I’ve been doing. These are subtitle files and there are a lot of them in parentheses so I was hoping there was an easier way. It’s ok. I appreciate the help.

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