I'm doing transcription of a recording, and the style guide is that I start each paragraph with the speaker's name in italics with a colon after it, then tab over to 1.5" and their speech is not in italics. I am using a company template that is already set up with a 1.5" hanging indent:

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It is also set up such that italics is turned on automatically when I start a new paragraph.

So the way I use this template is:

  1. Hit Enter for a new speaker. Now I'm at 0" with italics on.
  2. Type name of speaker with a colon after it.
  3. Hit Tab to jump to 1.5".
  4. Hit Ctrl+I to switch out of italics mode and start typing the speech.
  5. If I want to start a new paragraph for the same speaker (so no need for the hanging indent), I press Shift+Enter, which Word automatically handles by creating a non-hanging indent at 1.5" without toggling italics, and it seems to automatically go back to my hanging indent with italics when I press just Enter.

I would like to either auto-toggle the italics at appropriate times while typing, or be able add italics to the speaker names when I'm done typing the document. It's critical for me to avoid keystrokes that involve holding Ctrl (and preferably also avoiding F keys since they are out of the way and small targets) because these significantly slow me down--I'm paid for output, not my time spent.

I cannot simply type my whole document in italics (as the template leads me to do if I don't want to manually toggle italics) and then apply formatting at the end, because I must also italicize asides within the speech. I suppose I could also replace all the asides with some kind of regex, but the thought of trying to type and edit an all-italics document makes my brain hurt.

I'm using Word 2016.


Do you need this to happen while you type?  It’s fairly easy to do after you’ve finished typing.  Just type your transcript as you’re doing it now, but without the Ctrl+Is:


Then, bring up “Find and Replace”, click on More >>, click “Use wildcards”, Find ^013*^t, Replace with ^&, and format it as Italic.

  “Find and Replace” dialog

Then click on “Replace All”.


If your transcript text begins on the very first line of the document (i.e., there is no title or introduction), you will need to handle the very first speaker manually.

Explanation: ^013 represents an end-of-paragraph (i.e., Enter), ^t represents a tab, and (as in command-line contexts) * represents an arbitrary string.  ^& says “replace what you found with what you found.  So this finds all text that comes between a paragraph mark and a tab, and replaces it with itself, but italicized.

  • This will be a good solution, except for one last thing. I'm actually using a company template that is set to start each new paragraph in italics. I would need to disable that in order to use your solution, but I can't figure out how that works in the first place, so I don't know how to disable it. – Tenfour04 Jul 21 '16 at 13:38
  • Wow, that sounds like information that really really should have been in the question from the beginning. Please edit your question to explain this. Why do you need to type (Ctrl)+(I) after you type (Enter) if you want to start each paragraph (with the speaker’s name) in italics, and you’re using a template that starts each new paragraph in italics?  … (Cont’d) – Scott Jul 21 '16 at 19:27
  • (Cont’d) …  What do you get if you type the way I described (i.e., without using (Ctrl)+(I) at all)?  I’m guessing you get a document that’s entirely in italics.  What happens if you then type (Ctrl)+(A) (or select the text that contains transcribed speech) and then type (Ctrl)+(I)?  All non-italic?  What happens if you use my answer then? Please do not respond in comments; edit your question to make it clearer and more complete. – Scott Jul 21 '16 at 19:28
  • I didn't have that info in the original question because the possibility of formatting it after the fact using Replace had not occurred to me and I was trying to keep the question concise. I'm used to StackOverflow, where I usually try to generalize my question in a way that is concise and will help others who have similar problems, not just the potential 0.01% of people who have my exact same issue. I'll edit the question. – Tenfour04 Jul 21 '16 at 20:17
  • OK, fair point.  On Super User we prefer that questions contain all relevant information, but it can be hard to tell in advance what's going to turn out to be relevant and what isn't it. – Scott Jul 21 '16 at 20:21

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