How to Search for Line Breaks, Tabs, and Special Characters in MS Word

By Lowell Heddings on August 27th, 2010

Over at the Technet Magazine blog, they’ve posted a very useful article that explains how to search for special characters like line breaks, tabs, or even white space. All you have to do is use a special modifier in the search box.

For instance, if you wanted to search for a word with a tab character in front of it, you could use ^tWord or something similar. Here’s a few of the entries from the table:

Search String Searches For
^l (lowercase L) Manual line break
^p Paragraph break
^n Column break
^m Manual page break
^b Section break
^t Tab character

Hit the link for the full list of special characters.

20 Helpful Search Strings for Finding Special Characters in Word [Technet Magazine Blog]

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/27/10
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