In this article, I consider the situation where you are typing text into a text editor or a word processor. An example of a text editor is Microsoft Notepad. An example of a word processor is Microsoft Word. Assume that you have 250 words to type in a page. You are likely to make errors. If you are using a word processor, some of these errors would be corrected using the Spelling and Grammar tool. Not all will be corrected this way.
There are also changes you would want to make after you have typed the whole page. It may be possible that you do not know where the words or phrases to change are located. That is where the Find and Replace tool comes in. I will talk about the Find Tool first before I talk about the Search and Replace tool; in that way you would understand the use of the Find and Replace tool better.
The Find Tool
Any text editor or word processor has a search tool or search feature. The search tool will search for a word or phrase, or even a sentence, through out the page. When it sees what is being searched, it highlights it. You can then type over the highlighted text to make correction.
How do you get the search tool window, so that you type what you are looking for in it? Every text editor or word processor has a horizontal menu bar at its top. The menu bar has buttons. Each button has a title or label. The first button (extreme left) is usually the File button. The second button is usually the Edit button.
Now, if you click the Edit button, you will see a drop down vertical menu. The drop dawn menu has menu items, and one of them has the label, “Find” or “Search”. If you click the Find or Search item, the Find window, also called the Find Dialog Box will appear. The Find Dialog Box has a field in which you type what you want the Find tool to search. After typing, you click the “Next” or “Find Next” button on the Find Dialog Box.
The Find Tool (unseen by you but controlled by the Find Dialog Box) will find the text of interest. When it sees the text, it highlights it. You can then type over the highlighted text to make correction. Before you can type over, you may have to click the title bar of the text editor or word processor first, to select the window containing the passage. If there is more than one occurrence of the searched text, then just click the Next (Find Next) button of the Find Dialog Box. The Find Tool will highlight the next occurrence down in the page. You can then do correction by typing. If there are more occurrences, just click the Next button again and again and make corrections accordingly.
If a search is not case-sensitive, it means a search for “People” will find “PEOPLE”; it will find, “pEOPLE”; it will find “people”, etc. If the search is case-sensitive, a search for “People” will find only “People” and not any of the other variants with different casings. The Find Dialog Box has a checkbox labeled, “Match Case” or something similar. When you click it, a tick will appear in it. When the check box has this tick, we say the checkbox is checked. When the checkbox is checked, the search is case-sensitive. When the checkbox is not checked, the search is not case-sensitive.
Spaces in Search Text
If you type a phrase in the field of the Find Dialog Box, any space in front of the phrase, within the phrase or after the phrase, counts in the search. So, you may search something and not see it just because you type unnecessary space in front of the phrase to be searched.
Find and Replace
With the simple Find method above, when the searched text is seen, any correction is done manually, by typing. You can avoid this by using another dialog box, called the Replace Dialog Box or something similar. It is actually the Find and Replace Dialog Box. This dialog box has two fields: one in which you type in the text to be searched, and the other in which you type in what will replace the searched text. When you do this, the search and replace is done automatically.
To bring out the Find and Replace Dialog Box, you have to click, Edit, in the horizontal menu bar of the application. When you do that, you see the drop down vertical menu. In the drop down menu, you will see the item, “Replace” or something similar. Click the Replace menu item, and you will see the Find and Replace Dialog Box.
You can make the search of the Find and Replace Dialog Box case-sensitive, in the same way you do for the Find Dialog Box.
In the Find and Replace Dialog Box, after typing the text you are looking for in the Find field, and the text to replace what is searched, in the Replace field, you click the Next (or Find Next) button of the dialog box. The first occurrence of the searched item will be found and replaced.
If you wanted the same searched text of all the occurrences in the document to be replaced by the same replacement text, then you would click the “Replace All” button of the Find and Replace Dialog Box.
The Find and Replace Dialog Box of a text editor or word processor can be used to find and replace text in a document. In the Find and Replace Dialog Box, you type what to look for in the Find field and what will replace the searched text in the Replace field. I hope with the knowledge I have given you in this article, you will always be able to edit everything in a document.