Hello, this is Vyom Munshi again. This blog is the third part of the series of articles on Find and Replace feature.

As you work with Office files, you may want to use the "Find and Replace" feature. There are some advanced settings that can help you in more complex searches. This article applies to Access, Excel, and Word.

Basic Character Cluster Search

Some languages have the concept of a "character cluster." A character cluster is a collection of characters that form a single word or syllable; frequently these clusters are a combination of base characters and accent characters, or diacritics. A simple character cluster is the letter "e" with an accent or "é."

In a basic search with no special features enabled, the entered search characters are only matched against the complete character cluster. For example, searching for "e" will not find "é" and vice versa. A more complex example is shown below for the Thai language:

Search text

Within text

Result

ที่

ที

No match

ที

ที่

No match

ที

ที

Match

 

Using Wildcards

For more advance searching, you can use wildcard characters to substitute one or more characters. This feature is available for Word, Excel and Access applications. NOTE: In Access, wildcards characters such as the asterisk (*) or the pound sign (#) can be used in find and replace but they must be enclosed in square brackets ([]).

To enable wildcard searching in Word, first click the "More >>" button in the "Find and Replace" dialog.

Then select the "Use wildcards" option.

Character search options:

Wildcard Character

What it Replaces

Example

?

Any single character

s?t finds sat and set.

@

One or more occurrences of the previous character or expression.

lo@t finds lot and loot.

The following examples show the use of the "?" and "@" characters in the Thai language.

Search text

Within text

Result

กิ่?

ฃกิ่ก

Match

กิ?

ฃกิ่ก

No match

กิ่?

ฃกิ่a

Match

กิ่@

ฃกิ่ก

Match

กิ@

ฃกิ่ก

No match

กิ่@

กิ่ก

Match

 

You can check out other supported wildcards at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/find-and-replace-text-or-other-items-HA001230392.aspx?CTT=1%23BM6#BM6.

Special Options

For even more advanced searching, there are "Special" options available in the Find and Replace dialog for Word only. When you click on the "Special" button, the following options drop-down will display.

Many of these options are self-explanatory and are not explained in this article. In this article we will discuss the RTL Mark, the LTR Mark, the Zero Width Joiner, and the Zero Width Non-Joiner. For a fuller explanation of these characters, please see the previous blog post "Bidirectional text embedding and override."

Character

Description

Example

RTL Mark (RLM)

Bidirectional formatting character usually not visible in rendered text. The Unicode value is (U+200F).

Hello العالم!<RLM>

Hello !العالم

LTR Mark (LRM)

Bidirectional formatting character usually not visible in rendered text. The Unicode value is (U+200E).

Hello العالم!<LRM>

Hello العالم!

Zero Width Joiner (ZWJ)

Special formatting used to join two characters which would otherwise not be joined together. The Unicode value is (U+200D).

م<ZWJ>ن

م‍ن

Zero Width Non-Joiner (ZWNJ)

Special formatting used so that the characters are prevented from joining thereby avoiding ligature formation. The Unicode value is (U+200C).

م<ZWNJ>ن

م‌ن

 

 

Thanks to Gwyneth Marshall, Zeeshan Furqan, Sirirat Reinikka and Mohamed Elkugia for their assistance with this article.