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Thread: Wildcards

  1. #1
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    Wildcards

    I am a crossword addict and am hoping to get some clarification on word 2013 & wildcard usage.

    In previous versions of word i simply accessed the find and replace dialogue box, checked the wildcard (?) Checkbox and entered a search string. I recently searched for ?ix, which didn’t find any results using this method; but when i did the same search using ^$ix (using the special drop-down box) it found words.

    Can someone clarify why the use wildcards option in the find and replace dialogue box is worthless or included at all, when half the time it doesn’t find the word which definitely is somewhere in the document.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by macropod; 2014-07-10 at 02:01. Reason: Removed SHOUTING

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    The ?ix wildcard expression will find 'ix' plus whatever character precedes it, as will the non-wildcard expression '^$ix'. You cannot use '^$' as part of a wildcard expression. Your description suggests you hadn't checked the 'use wildcards' option.

    PS: Please don't SHOUT at us. Typing in all-caps is generally regarded as rude behaviour (shouting at people) and makes your posts harder to read.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

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    Sorry if it seems as though I'm shouting. I prepared my initial query in a Word document then cut'n'pasted everything into this forum.
    I don't understand what you mean by 'typing in all-caps' as my original post is (and appears to be) 99% lowercase (seriously).

    PS: Before posting my query, I got a 2nd opinion where we both definately used/checked the "Use Wildcard' checkbox; which didn't find any results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robko View Post
    my original post is (and appears to be) 99% lowercase (seriously).
    That's because I edited the post... as noted in the comments attached to it.
    Before posting my query, I got a 2nd opinion where we both definately used/checked the "Use Wildcard' checkbox; which didn't find any results.
    Regardless, all of the advice given in my previous post stands.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

  5. #5
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    The ^$ token is not valid when "Use wildcards" is selected. I suspect you used the Special pulldown to choose "Any letter" before you turned on the wildcard checkbox. If you have that option checked first, the context-sensitive Special pulldown will only present the options available for a wildcard search, and you'll see that "Any letter" is no longer available.

    To use wildcards correctly in your example, you'd need to use [A-z]ix or, to find just those words beginning with any letter and followed by "ix", use <[A-z]ix.

    Note that "[A-z]" restricts the expression to upper- and lowercase Western alphabet letters only, so unlike the ^$ token used in a non-wildcard Find, it would not find ix unless you added it specifically (i.e. [A-z]).

    Word's wildcard capabilities are arguably not as comprehensive as some other tools using regular expressions, but they will work reliably if you follow the rules. A good reference for wildcard usage is this well-explained page from MVP Graham Mayor.

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    Hi Eric, and thanks for including your hyperlink referral. The more informative material I get to read - the better; I say this because I have a neurological condition.

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