Imagine you’ve completed a 3000-word article only to discover that you’ve been spelling the last name of your main source wrong the entire time.
Instead of going through your document and making each change manually, Google Docs has made it simple to fix your mistake in only a few clicks. The find and replace tool allows you to replace any word or phrase with different text all at once.
Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to use the find and replace tool and save some time editing your document.
How to find and replace a word in Google Docs
Most writers can agree that the writing process can be frustrating, especially when you have to go back through your document and correct the same mistake over and over again. This is where the find and replace tool comes in handy. Rather than wasting your time correcting each mistake individually, use this shortcut to correct the same mistake all at the same time.
Tip: Need a short-cut for find and replace in google docs?
Are you a visual learner? Follow this comprehensive guide, with screenshots:
How do you use find and replace in Google Docs?
- Go to "Edit" then click on "Find and replace"
- Type the word or phrase you want to find in the “Find” field and enter the new word(s) in the “Replace with” field
- Optional Step: Narrow your search by choosing “Match case” or “Match using regular expressions”
- Click on either “Replace” or “Replace All”
1. Go to “Edit” then click on “Find and replace”
To start off, find the edit button so that a drop-down menu appears. At the bottom of the edit menu, you’ll see an option labeled “Find and replace.” Once you’ve located it, proceed to click on “Find and replace.”
2. Type the word or phrase you want to find in the “Find” field and enter the new word(s) in the “Replace with” field
Once you click on “Find and replace” a pop-up box will appear on the screen. Next to “Find” type in the desired word or phrase that you would like to change. As you type, Google will highlight all of the instances that this word appears, so that you can see exactly where the mistake was made. From there, next to “Replace with,” enter the new word that you would like to use.
Tip: To see the next time the word or phrased is used, click “Next.” To see the last, click “Previous.”
3. Optional Step: Narrow your search by choosing “Match case” or “Match using regular expressions”
While this step may not pertain to your needs, it is still helpful to understand what these two options mean. By choosing “Match case” Google will only replace words with the exact capitalization, instead of all the words that have the same spelling. The “regular expressions” option is used if you want to replace strings of text that include characters, numbers, or patterns with regular expressions.
4. Click on either “Replace” or “Replace All”
There are two options for this final step. If you’d like to replace all of the words or phrases you entered in the find field, then click “replace all.” But if you only need to make a singular change, then simply click the “replace” button.
Tip: Just need to find a word in your Doc? Use the short-cut Ctrl+F (Windows) or Command+F (macOS) to access the Find tool on Google Doc.
Congrats! You’re now an expert at find and replace in Google Docs
We’re all human and mistakes inevitably happen, but the find and replace tool is a quick way to eliminate the tediousness of having to make manual changes.
Interested in learning about other applications like Google Docs? Find more document creation software here!