How-To Geek

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

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

Comments (2)

  1. Tahmar

    To the How to Geeks –
    …..and you really do know how to !!!
    I have had 2 so called computer technicians ( one with a 4 year Computer Science degree ) come to my home and try to network 2 printers – one is an old HP Laserjet 4P and the other a HP Photosmart C4680 both installed on one Computer with XP Pro o/s and the other a Laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium o/s and they could not get it right – I am a subscriber to your daily emails and I found the mail about “Sharing files and Printers between Win 7 & XP – I followed your excellent instructions explicitely and am so pleased to inform you that the LaserJet works on both computers and the Photosmart only on the XP , but at least I have one working on both computers, I will try to find the issue with the PhotoSmart as your instructions worked perfectly for the LazerJet.

    I LOVE YOUR EMAILS – most of which are greek to me as I am not very computer savy, just an old woman in late 60’s that has had so much help from your mails content and just want to say THANK YOU – thank you so very much and will be sending a small token of appreciation as soon as I find your mailing address. – Whoever writes these mails and instructions are to be commended – they are precise, and in layman’s language that even someone like myself can read and understand. – you make my computing life so much easier – Thank You again!!


  2. HoX

    Great! Thanks. You saved my bacon.

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