A Guide to Using the Find and Replace Tool in Google Docs

Emily Goorevich
Emily Goorevich  |  April 16, 2019

Imagine you’ve completed a 3000-word article only to discover that you’ve been spelling the last name of your main source wrong the entire time.

Instead of going through your document and making each change manually, Google Docs has made it simple to fix your mistake in only a few clicks. The find and replace tool allows you to replace any word or phrase with different text all at once.

Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to use the find and replace tool and save some time editing your document.

How to find and replace a word in Google Docs

Most writers can agree that the writing process can be frustrating, especially when you have to go back through your document and correct the same mistake over and over again. This is where the find and replace tool comes in handy. Rather than wasting your time correcting each mistake individually, use this shortcut to correct the same mistake all at the same time.

Tip: Need a short-cut for find and replace in google docs?

  • Windows: Ctrl+H
  • macOS: Command+Shift+H

Are you a visual learner? Follow this comprehensive guide, with screenshots:

 1. Go to “Edit” then click on “Find and replace”

To start off, find the edit button so that a drop-down menu appears. At the bottom of the edit menu, you’ll see an option labeled “Find and replace.” Once you’ve located it, proceed to click on “Find and replace.”

find and replace in google docs

2. Type the word or phrase you want to find in the “Find” field and enter the new word(s) in the “Replace with” field

Once you click on “Find and replace” a pop-up box will appear on the screen. Next to “Find” type in the desired word or phrase that you would like to change. As you type, Google will highlight all of the instances that this word appears, so that you can see exactly where the mistake was made. From there, next to “Replace with,” enter the new word that you would like to use.

find and replace in google docs

 

Tip: To see the next time the word or phrased is used, click “Next.” To see the last, click “Previous.”

3. Optional Step: Narrow your search by choosing “Match case” or “Match using regular expressions”

While this step may not pertain to your needs, it is still helpful to understand what these two options mean. By choosing “Match case” Google will only replace words with the exact capitalization, instead of all the words that have the same spelling. The “regular expressions” option is used if you want to replace strings of text that include characters, numbers, or patterns with regular expressions.

4. Click on either “Replace” or “Replace All”

There are two options for this final step. If you’d like to replace all of the words or phrases you entered in the find field, then click “replace all.” But if you only need to make a singular change, then simply click the “replace” button.

find and replace in google docs

 

Tip: Just need to find a word in your Doc? Use the short-cut Ctrl+F (Windows) or Command+F (macOS) to access the Find tool on Google Doc.

Congrats! You’re now an expert at find and replace in Google Docs

We’re all human and mistakes inevitably happen, but the find and replace tool is a quick way to eliminate the tediousness of having to make manual changes.

If you're ready to advance your Google Docs expertise, then check out how to see your word count on Google Docs or how to change margins in Google Docs

Interested in learning about other applications like Google Docs? Find more document creation software here!

Emily Goorevich
Author

Emily Goorevich

Emily Goorevich is a content marketing intern at G2 Crowd. She is currently a senior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, studying Political Science and Strategic Communications. She is originally from Maryland and loves reading, listening to podcasts, and falafel.