Last Updated on April 15, 2023 by Dave Farquhar
Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to find words in all caps in Word. Microsoft Word, that is. This helps you find all the acronyms so you can make sure you spelled them out or explained them properly.
Double-checking acronyms is especially important when writing government proposals, which require you to spell out acronyms on first usage. If you’ve never written a proposal, be glad, smile, and nod. Many acronyms make good index material, so this trick helps when you’re writing an index. Also, acronyms are frequently jargon, so making sure you explain them adequately is just part of good writing. Or, if you’re a fan of high quality typography, you might want to find them all so you can set them in small caps for improved aesthetics and readability.
Here’s how you do it.
Words in all caps
In Word, do an advanced find. You can find it by navigating to Home in the ribbon at the top of the screen, then Find, and hitting the drop-down arrow. If you’re like me, you may find it easier to just hit CTRL-H, which works in all versions of Word. (You can remember it this way: CTRL-F is for Find, CTRL-H is for Hunt.) Next, click the More button, check the box labeled Use wildcards, and enter this regular expression:
This searches for two or more capital letters in a row.
You can then cycle through the results one at a time by clicking Find Next.
Or if you prefer, highlight them to see all of them at once. To highlight, click on the Find tab, then click Reading Highlight, then click Highlight All. Then you can close the dialog and all of the words in all caps will appear in yellow highlight for you.
Finding capitalized words in Word is a similar problem with a very similar solution. You can read about that here.
Finding words in all uppercase letters is another example of repetitive work that computers do much better than humans. Most people never touch this functionality, so Microsoft buried it pretty deep in the user interface. But when you need it, it can save you hours of time.
Solving other problems in Word
A lot of common problems in Word have relatively easy solutions. Here are some examples:
- Hiding and unhiding whitespace
- Accepting all changes
- Creating hanging indents
- Blank table of contents entries
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.