Replacing text with special characters in Microsoft Office Word

This evening I was trying to take a few Exchange Server distribution groups and import their membership to Excel. There’s probably a way to script this but the method I used was to expand the distribution group membership in Outlook, then copy and paste the contents to a text editor before reformatting for Excel. The problem was that I wanted to move from a list of names separated with semicolons to a vertical list of names separated by line breaks.

Using Word (2007) as my editor, I tried to replace ; with a line break copied and pasted from another document but that didn’t work. It turns out that there is a method to replace using control characters though, as described in a Microsoft help and how-to article about finding and replacing text.

For my situation, I needed to type ^p (or ^13) as the replacement for ; but other options include:

Find/replace Type
Paragraph mark (¶) ^p (except with wildcards) or ^13
Tab character ^t or ^9
ASCII character ^<em>nnn</em> where nnn is the character code
ANSI character ^0<em>nnn</em> where nnn is the character code
Em dash (—) ^+
En dash (–) ^=
Caret (^) ^^
Manual line break ^l or ^11
Column break ^n or ^14
Page (when replacing) or section break ^12
Manual page break ^m
Non-breaking space ^s
Non-breaking hyphen ^~
Optional Hyphen (¬) ^-

These may be useful to know – and there are more find and replace options in the article, including wildcards.


  • Friday 6 February 2009 - 20:57 | Permalink

    So useful in fact that they include all this in the Find/Replace dialog: click “More>>” and click the “Special” button.

  • Friday 6 February 2009 - 22:08 | Permalink

    …and so well hidden that I didn’t notice it and Microsoft’s own help text doesn’t appear to mention it!

    Thanks for the tip Duncan… had I realised that, it would have saved me from writing this post in the small hours of this morning :-)

  • Thursday 12 February 2009 - 4:16 | Permalink

    I’m sure Dave Saxon will be perplexed that you didn’t use PowerShell?? ;-)

  • Thursday 12 February 2009 - 15:38 | Permalink

    Hi Adam – I’m sure he would :-) Unfortunately, fantastic as PowerShell is, I’m not using it enough to be that comfortable with it… I think I need another one of Dave’s courses.

    Hope all is well with you now you’re back down under.

    Cheers, Mark

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