Replace All

Sometimes you make a decision to change something in a document, and you want that same thing changed throughout, so you do a Find and Replace in Word, then hit Replace All, because, well, you want them all replaced.

Well, some very interesting things can happen when you do that. For instance, say you want to change all the company names from Oxy to Occidental, just to be more formal. Then later on you are reading through some technical mumbo-jumbo and you come across the term “Occidentalgenation.” What the heck? After reading the sentence a couple times, you figure out that the word should be “oxygenation” but it got changed during your Replace All function. Sure enough, a little further down, you find the word “Occidentalgen” where it should have been “oxygen.”

So, a word to the wise: Unless it’s a very short document and you know for a certainty that no other word in it has the three letters O-X-Y in a row, it’s generally best to choose Find Next and decide whether to Replace for each instance as you go through the document.

Otherwise, you might end up having to read the entire document to see what interesting changes you inadvertently made to other words containing those same letters when you hit Replace All.

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Profound Quotes of the Day:

“The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
– Malcolm Forbes, American publisher, 1917-1990

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”
– Willie Nelson, American country singer, b. 1933

“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then
will our world know the blessings of peace.”
– William E. Gladstone, British Prime Minister (4 times), 1809-1898

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3 Responses to “Replace All”

  1. Neurotic (@pcgneurotic) Says:

    I have two tips here (speaking as a Search-Replace Jedi myself): For manual checking, the Reading Highlight, or Find All buttons are a huge help, picking out your potential victims/beneficiaries at a glance.
    The second thing is, Word 2010 (and I guess 2013) has an excellent new ‘Find sidebar’, which lists all your Find results as clickable extracts down the side of the screen. This makes manual, precision targeting much easier too.

  2. mnbrecher Says:

    Hmmm. Using your example:

    As far as I know, with Find, if you put a space after “Oxy”, it will exclude words with “oxy” somewhere in them, and only find whole words written as “oxy”.

    • petrocomputing Says:

      Excellent suggestion, and it works if there are no other words that end in -oxy (like hydroxy) or if there is a period or comma after the Oxy. Still the best thing is to go through them one by one. This develops patience, which is a nice virtue I’m still working on it.)
      Love, Jeanne

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