It’s not all about the journey: in the search for … (Part 1)

It’s all about the journey – such a lovely sentiment but when it comes to editing those long Word documents whilst facing looming deadlines, it’s not such an easy concept to fly with. And when you’re searching for specific content within your document, you need to find it quick! So here’s the first part (of a three part series) that’ll help you make it not about the journey but about getting to your end result faster.

Searching for content within short docs is simple enough, but can be cumbersome when you’re working with lengthy documents. So to reduce the time you spend sifting through search results, try narrowing your text searches via the Find Options menu item. This was something I often did with earlier versions of Word but found my use of it vanished with Word 2010, mainly because the clickable search results within the then newly introduced Navigation pane were so easy to use. Nevertheless, refining search results via the Options tool is still a much more efficient way to work.

Here’s how:

  • Start by calling up the Navigation pane (Home > Find if you’re Ribbon dependent, or Ctrl+F for shortcut key users);
  • Click the dropdown arrow (located on the right hand side of the search bar) – the Find Options item appears at the top of the menu;
  • Click Options, make your selections as appropriate, and then click OK;
  • Enter your search item (within the Navigation pane search bar) – only the relevant search results will be displayed.

I find the Match case and Find whole words only options particularly helpful. On the flip side, I’m not sure when you’d use the Sounds like (English) option, but maybe that’s just me?

But back to searching, and finding: within the same dropdown menu are options to limit your search to elements such as tables or graphics, or even specific reviewer comments. Again, this is particularly handy for navigating to the appropriate place within longer documents. So just imagine a 90 page document with only two graphics; using this quick and easy method, you won’t need to remember where your graphics are placed, only how to find them.

Click here for Part 2.