Archive for March, 2019


Word: Find and replace a custom font colour

March 30, 2019

If you’ve used a custom colour for quite a bit of text in your document and want to replace it with another custom colour, you have two options:

  • If the colour is part of a style, modify the font colour in the style’s settings—this should change all instances immediately. I won’t discuss this further.
  • If the colour has been applied manually (i.e. not part of a style), then you’ll need to do a find and replace to find all instances of colour A and replace them with colour B.

Here’s how to change a manually applied custom colour using find and replace:

  1. Open the Find and Replace dialog (Ctrl+H).
  2. Make sure the cursor is in the Find field.
  3. Click More.
  4. Click Format.
  5. Choose Font.
  6. Click the drop-down arrow for Font Color.
  7. Click More Colors.
  8. Enter the RGB values you want to find (e.g. 255, 51, 153).
  9. Click OK. The text under the Find field should show the RGB values you selected; for example: Font Color: Custom Color (RGB(255,51,153)).
  10. Place your cursor in the Replace field.
  11. Repeat Steps 4 to 7.
  12. Enter the RGB values you want to use for the replace (e.g. 230, 131, 76).
  13. Click OK. The text under the Find field should show the RGB values you selected; for example: Font Color: Custom Color (RGB(230,131,76)).
  14. Click Find Next, then click Replace for the first one found.
  15. Repeat Step 14 until all are found, or, if you are confident that you won’t mess up anything else, click Replace All.



Word: A quick way to replace multiple spaces with a single space

March 29, 2019

I’ve written before about using wildcards in Word’s Find and Replace dialog box to replace multiple spaces with a single space. Well, in the category of ‘you learn something new every day’, I’ve discovered that there’s a much easier way that doesn’t use wildcards, thanks to an attendee (Bill Cloud) at my presentation at the 2019 ACES Conference. Thanks, Bill, for this tip that uses ^w as the search term.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Open the Find and Replace dialog box (Ctrl+H).
  2. Type ^w in the Find field.
  3. Type a single space in the Replace field.
  4. Click Find Next then Replace for each that you find. NOTE: Avoid using Replace All, because ^w finds and replaces tab characters and soft hyphens—see Lene’s comment below, dated 29 March 2019.

So, where does the ^w come from and what does it represent? If you put your cursor into the Find field, then click More in the Find and Replace dialog, then click Special, you’ll see White space at the bottom of the list. If you choose it, ^w will get added to the Find field (NOTE: It’s not a valid character for the Replace field). I tested it in a sentence where I’d typed two, three, four, five, and six spaces between words and it replaced each instance with a single space in one pass. Very handy.

Update Feb 2020: In the category of ‘very handy’ is this trick to replace multiple leading and trailling spaces at the beginning and/or end of a line: Centre the paragraph (Ctrl+e), then change the alignment back to what you had before (Ctrl+l for left aligned, Ctrl+j for fully justified). All your leading and trailling spaces will be gone! (Thanks for this tip go to Lori Kaufman on How-To Geek:


Word: Comment details not kept for reviewer

March 16, 2019

I came across something I’d never seen before in a document I was editing today—every time I saved the document, all my comments reverted from being tagged with my initials to a generic ‘A<number>’ designation (‘A’ for ‘author’).

A quick internet search told me how to fix it for future comments (unfortunately it doesn’t fix the earlier comments you’ve already saved):

  1. Go to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Privacy options.
  2. Clear the checkbox for Remove personal information…
  3. Click OK to close the Options window. Now when you add a new comment, your initials will show AND they will hold when you save the document.

If you really need to change the older comments too, then try this trick (I haven’t tried this, so there are no guarantees that it will work as you want it to—the usual caveats apply of making a backup first and working on the copy to test that it works):

  1. Change the Word documents file extension to .ZIP.
  2. Go to the resulting comment.xml file.
  3. Manually change the “Author” part of w:author=”Author” to your initials in that file.