I'm using find/replace with wildcards.

Let's say I want to surround specific text strings (names of Word documents) with parentheses. Each word doc starts with BP_ and ends with docx.

Find: (<BP_*docx>)
Replace: (\1)

Above, expression 1 is the entire word document name. Find/replace highlights the word document name when I press Find Next, so I know it's finding the right thing.

However, whether I replace with (\1) or (^&), the result is always something like BP_document_name.docx(). In other words, even though I've surrounded the text with parentheses in my Replace field, Word chooses to put those opening and closing parens at the end of the text I searched for.

What I don't understand is that if I copy the same paragraph text into a brand new, clean word doc and performed the same procedure, the outcome is what I expect to see: (BP_document_name.docx)

Anyone seen this before? Could there be something about the word doc I'm editing that is mucking things up? Like, the text being inside a table, with a certain format? I'm at a loss and could really use some help.

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  • 1
    What I would suggest is for you to 1) Show formatting marks, and 2) with your current document and the new one in which you pasted the contents, click the Styles tab and compare each area and see if you can detect what's different. – Rolo Jan 11 '15 at 5:52
  • @Rolo - Thanks... Tried that just now. The text is the same in every way except the font size; Normal formatting, with a 10pt font size applied to the document in question. There is something about this document that renders find/replace using wildcards ineffective. I'll keep trying different things until I figure it out. – Michael Paul Jan 11 '15 at 17:47
  • fwiw I'm having exactly the same problem in Word for Mac v.15 (2016). Not doing the replacement, or inserting something different because parentheses are special characters would be understandable, but to give you exactly what you want, but in the wrong order--that's got to be a bug. Especially given what happens when you copy it to a new document. (My Word doesn't do that, though. In a new document the parentheses are still at the end.) – Mars Dec 16 '16 at 1:04

For me the fix was disabling track changes while doing the find/replace. Hope this helps you (and others!) even though it is a bit late.

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