How to Search for a Word in Microsoft Word

  • When you learn how to search for a word in Microsoft Word, you will be learning how to use the Find tool. However, there is also an Advanced Find feature that lets you customize your search further, and there is a Find and Replace tool that lets you replace instances of words and phrases.
  • Aside from the method below that we use to search for a word in a Word document, you can also use a keyboard shortcut to launch the Find tool. Simply press Ctrl + F on your keyboard to launch it.
  • The Find tool lets you search for whole words, phrases, or even letters. You can use it to find what you are looking for in your document, regardless of how much or how little of the information you enter into the search field.

Microsoft Word’s search tools come in a couple of different varieties. The basic search lets you locate specific words or phrases in your document, while the Advanced Find tool lets you do things like match case, use wildcards, and generally find text in most of the ways that you might consider.

You can search for certain words in Microsoft Word by clicking the Home tab, selecting the Find button, then typing your search term into the “Search” field.

This will then highlight each instance of the word that appears in the document, and you can click each of the search results in the Navigation column to jump to the occurrence of that word in your document.

But if you are trying to figure out how to search for a word in Microsoft Word, then you might be struggling to locate the correct tool. Our guide below will show you how to use the search tool in your Word file.

How to Search a Word Document

  1. Open the Word document.
  2. Select the Home tab at the top of the window.
  3. Click the Find button in the Editing group of the ribbon.
  4. Enter your search term into the search box, then click a result to go to that point in the document.

Our guide continues below with additional information on how to find a word in a document, including pictures of these steps.

How to Search for a Word in a Microsoft Word Document (Guide with Pictures)

The steps in this article were performed in Microsoft Word for Office 365, but will also work in other versions of Word, such as Word 2016 or Word 2019.

As mentioned earlier, you can also open the search tool by pressing Ctrl+F on your keyboard.

Step 1: Open your document in Microsoft Word.

Step 2: Click the Home tab above the ribbon at the top of the window.

how to search for a word in Microsoft Word

Step 3: Click the Find button in the Editing section of the ribbon.

Note that there are down arrows to the right of the Find button and the Select button in that section that you can use for other options. For example, there’s an Advanced Find option on the Find drop down menu that you can use for additional search options to locate a particular word or words in the document.

click the Find button in the Editing group

Step 4: Type your search term into the search box in the Navigation pane on the left side of the window.

Results containing your search term will appear in the column. You can then click a search result to be taken to its location in the document.

The up and down arrows under the search field will allow you to quickly move between the different results.

how to search for a word in a Microsoft Word document

Additional Information on How to Search for a Word in a Microsoft Word Document

  • Other applications, including Microsoft Excel, can also take advantage of the Ctrl + F keyboard shortcut for finding information.
  • If you have used older versions of Microsoft Word, then you might be used to the dialog box that previously appeared when you tried to search for a word. The Navigation pane has replaced the basic search tool, but that dialog box will still appear if you select the Advanced Find option from the dropdown menu.
how to do an advanced search for a word in Microsoft Word
the Find and Replace dialog box in Microsoft Word for Office 365
  • The search function in MS Word also displays a magnifying glass at the right end of the search box. If you click that magnifying glass you will see a menu with additional ways to search for words or other items in the document.
  • The Find and Replace dialog box also has a “Replace” tab at the top of the window. If you select that tab you will be able to enter the existing word that you want to replace, then enter the word that you want to use to replace it.
  • Once the Find and Replace dialog box appears and you start using that to search through Word documents, it’s possible that you will find that to be a better way to search through an entire document and customize what Word replaces. Fortunately this is a similar search function that exists in other Microsoft office applications so you will be able to use it and its advanced options for searching while you look through spreadsheets and slideshows.

Find out how to remove page numbers in Microsoft Word if you have a document that contains page numbers that you either don’t want or don’t need.

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