30 Jan The Find-Replace function

Learning how to use the Find-Replace function efficiently in text editors to rapidly correct formatting errors and recurring typos, or to modify multiple instances of the same part of text. Learning to use wildcards in certain capable apps is even more powerful. The search function in Web browsers and PDF document readers is equally invaluable.

Specific uses

Correcting formatting errors such as double word-spaces


Search for all instances where 2 word-spaces have been typed, and replace them with 1.

Finding and correcting typos

When reviewing a document, you sometimes stumble upon a typo. When you do, use the Search function to find any other happenings of the same type. If the term is used often in your document, there are chances you misspelled it at another place in your document. You can correct all instances with a single search and replace.

Multiple instances of a string of characters

It can happen that you want to replace a certain string of characters that repeats itself many times throughout your document. Here are a few examples :

  • Find all instances of André and Replace them with André Cyr
  • Find all $ signs and replace them with USD
  • Find all <h3> tags and replace them with <h4> tags
  • Find all text-transform CSS classes replace them with nothing, therefore deleting them

Apps that can use this command

  • Text-editors such as Text Edit and Sublime Text
  • Word-processors such as Microsoft Word and Apple Pages
  • Spreadsheet apps such as Microsoft Excel
  • Productivity apps such as OmniOutliner and Evernote

Apps that can half-use this command

While they can’t use the Replace part of the Find and Replace function, these apps can certainly take advantage of the Search function to locate specific terms and accelerating your search for information.

PDF readers such as Preview and Adobe Acrobat


Research papers are usually in this format, and the Find function can help you locate important terms within your document. Preview will even give you a list of page in the sidebar where the term appears, and highlight it in yellow on the page to help you locate the term.

Web browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox


Finding key terms within a web page is invaluable. Use the Find function to do it.