One little check box can make all the difference when you use Word's Find feature. By selecting the Find dialog box's Use Wildcards option, you can expand the "fuzziness" with which Word locates matches to your text. Wildcards can save time when you don't know the exact spelling of a word but you have an idea.

Let's say you want to find all of the three-letter combinations in your document that begin with the letter "s" and end with the letter "t." Press [Ctrl]F to summon the Find dialog box, click the More button if it's visible, and select the Use Wildcards check box. The wildcard that represents a single character is the question mark [?]. So, in the Find What field, type s?t and click Find Next. Word will locate each three-character combination that begins with "s" and ends with "t," no matter what character is in the middle.

Suppose you want to look at all the strings that begin with "s" and end with "t," no matter how many characters come in between. The wildcard that stands for any number of characters is the asterisk [*], so in the Find What field, type s*t and click Find Next. 

By the way, when you select the wildcard search option, Word "grays out" the Match Case option. That's because a wildcard search is case-sensitive to a certain point. The unknown characters represented by the wildcards can be of any case. However, Word will match the case of the known characters that you enter in conjunction with the wildcards. So, searching for S*t will not find the same results as searching for


Created Date: 03/20/2002  Last Reviewed: 03/20/2002  Rev. Date: