How to use Replace to remove or add hard returns in a Word document

Too many or too few onerous returns can break an in any other case skilled wanting Microsoft Phrase doc. Happily, it is simple so as to add and change these onerous returns utilizing Phrase’s Substitute characteristic.

Man typing on computer with dog

Picture: iStock/Sonja Rachbauer

In a Phrase doc, you normally enable Phrase to wrap to the subsequent line as you enter content material. You press Enter solely whenever you’re prepared to start out a brand new paragraph. It isn’t unusual although, particularly with older paperwork that you simply inherit to search out multiple onerous return between paragraphs. That is as a result of somebody used onerous returns as a substitute of altering the textual content fashion so as to add white area. It isn’t proper or unsuitable, however on this article, I am going to present you easy methods to use the Substitute characteristic to delete and add onerous returns.

SEE: 83 Excel suggestions each consumer ought to grasp (TechRepublic)

I am utilizing Microsoft 365 on a Home windows 10 64-bit system, however you should utilize earlier variations. Phrase On-line would not assist special-character searches but. There is no demonstration file; you do not want one. Enter =Rand() right into a clean doc to create a couple of paragraphs of textual content, as I did.

What’s a tough return?

Earlier than we get began, I wish to point out that the time period onerous return refers to manually urgent Enter to wrap textual content to the subsequent line. Phrase refers to it as a paragraph mark. You will see the phrases used interchangeably. On this article, I am going to use onerous return when talking typically and I am going to use paragraph mark when referring to the precise image circled in Determine A. To see this image, click on Present/Cover within the Paragraph group on the House tab.

As you’ll be able to see in Determine A, there’s just one paragraph mark (onerous return) between paragraphs. By default, newer variations of Phrase routinely add white area between paragraphs utilizing a Spacing setting (extra about that later). That is the way you get a lot white area between paragraphs with just one onerous return.  You possibly can regulate the setting, however let’s do not. As an alternative, let’s take away it utilizing Substitute and see what occurs.

Determine A

wordwildcard-a.jpg

   There’s just one paragraph mark between every paragraph.

Deleting onerous returns utilizing Substitute in Phrase

Now let’s suppose that you don’t need all that white area between he paragraphs, and also you incorrectly assume that there are two onerous returns as a substitute of 1 as a result of the paragraphs. On this case, you would possibly do the next utilizing Substitute:

  1. On the House tab, click on Enhancing after which select Substitute, or click on Ctrl + G. Click on the Substitute tab if essential.
  2. Click on Extra if essential to reveal extra choices.
  3. Click on contained in the Discover What management.
  4. Click on the Particular button on the backside of the dialog and select Paragraph Mark from the ensuing checklist (Determine B). Do that once more, so Phrase appears to be like for 2 paragraph marks (Determine C). The characters ^p signify a paragraph mark. It is price noting that it is best to use the Particular button to enter particular characters. Coming into the carat character (^) manually would not at all times work. 
  5. Click on contained in the Substitute With management.
  6. Use the Particular button to enter just one Paragraph Mark (Determine C). 
  7. Take a shortcut and click on Substitute All. Phrase confirms the duty however makes no substitute (Determine D). (When you’ve got one, don’t fret, it is most likely an additional onerous return on the finish of the textual content.)

Determine B

wordwildcard-b.jpg

  Enter two paragraph marks.

Determine C

wordwildcard-c.jpg

  Enter just one paragraph mark.

Determine D

wordwildcard-d.jpg

  Phrase confirms that no replacements have been made.

Are you shocked that nothing occurred? By changing two paragraph marks with just one, you would possibly suppose you are eradicating a paragraph mark between every paragraph, however that did not work as a result of there’s just one paragraph mark. Phrase did not discover two paragraph marks collectively. 

Let’s delete only one paragraph mark and see what occurs. Repeat the steps above, however in step 4, you want just one Paragraph Mark and in step 6, depart the Substitute With management clean (delete the unique paragraph mark from the primary run if essential). While you click on Substitute All, Phrase deletes the entire paragraph marks (a complete of 5) and you find yourself with the one paragraph proven in Determine E.

Determine E

wordwildcard-e.jpg

  Eradicating the onerous returns creates a little bit of a large number.

Earlier than we transfer on to the part on including onerous returns, press Ctrl + Z to undo the Substitute activity and reset the textual content to its unique area formatting.

SEE: Home windows 10: Lists of vocal instructions for speech recognition and dictation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

add onerous returns utilizing Substitute in Phrase

Now we already know that there is just one onerous return between every paragraph and {that a} area setting is creating all that white area, so let’s delete it so we will apply including a tough return utilizing Substitute. First, let’s change that area setting as follows:

  1. Choose the content material (all of it).
  2. Click on the Extra button within the Paragraph group on the House tab.
  3. On the Indents and Spacing tab, verify the Do not Add Area Between Paragraphs of the Identical Type possibility (Determine F).
  4. Click on OK.

Determine F

wordwildcard-f.jpg

  Take away the extraneous spacing between the paragraphs.

The additional spacing is gone, however the single onerous returns are nonetheless in place. What we have to do now could be add a tough return so as to add extra spacing. (I do know it looks as if we’re not really fixing something, and we’re not; we’re merely working by way of examples of easy methods to add and delete paragraph returns utilizing Substitute.)

Repeat the directions for the change activity used above. You are on the lookout for one paragraph return (^p), and also you wish to change it with two (^p^p). You are reversing the primary change activity. Determine G exhibits the outcomes. The spacing is just like the sooner area setting.

Determine G

wordwildcard-g.jpg

  Add one other onerous return to extend the white area between paragraphs.

I am not suggesting that you simply get rid of the default spacing between paragraphs after which change it with two onerous returns utilizing Substitute. That is not the purpose of the workouts. We’re deleting and including onerous returns utilizing Substitute as a result of it is simpler than manually eradicating and including them. You have discovered that you should utilize Substitute so as to add and delete them and that ^p represents a paragraph mark when looking out a doc. 

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