I'm trying to find all instances of "et al(space)" in a document and replace them with "et al(period)(space)". In Find and Replace with wildcards, I'm typing:

Find: (et al)( )
Replace: \1.\2

Word finds the right character sequence, but replaces "et al(space)" with "et al(space)(period)(space)".

I've tried various combinations of find-and-replace wildcards, but Word keeps adding that extra space before the period.

I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but the text is in a table.

What am I doing wrong? Thanks!

EDIT: I didn't need to use wildcards for this specific case, but was having the same problem (spaces and punctuation being added in the wrong place) in other cases where I did need to use wildcards. I had to turn off Track Changes for the wildcards to work. Kind of an annoying bug, but /shrug.

  • 1
    What are you planning to do if et al already has a trailing period? – DavidPostill Jul 12 at 17:27
  • I'm not able to recreate the problem - my Word replaces "et al " with "et al. " with no issues. @DavidPostill if it already has a trailing period, it's not the "et al" they're trying to replace - the one with the trailing period after the space was the incorrect sequence they were running into, not the one they were starting with. Try not using wildcards. – mael' Jul 12 at 17:31
  • "Find: (et al)( ) only finds instances of "et al" with a space immediately following it, ignoring "et al(period)" completely. – Sarah Miller Jul 12 at 17:33
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    Am I missing something here? Does Word really have such a truly non-standard method of find/replace? I'd be starting with Find et al Replace with et al. – Tetsujin Jul 12 at 17:37
  • @mael' Huh. That worked! I guess I was making it more complicated than I needed to. Without using wildcards, I typed find: et al (with a space after et al) and replace: et al. (with a period and a space after et al). Worked perfectly! Thanks! – Sarah Miller Jul 12 at 17:38

Don't use wildcards. "et al " can be replaced using "et al. " without issue:
I highlighted both entries to show the trailing spaces.

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