Nifty Office Tricks: Find Words of A Certain Number of Characters

Two-letter words often cause more complicated sentences with reduced clarity, and they work towards passive voice. These days, we teach students that legal writing should be simple, clear, and concise. I advise students that they should look for two-letter words and consider whether they might simplify the phrase or sentence by eliminating the word.

So how do you find all the two-letter words in a document? Wildcards. This article could not possibly cover the range and complexity of Office wildcard searches, but this one is pretty easy.

(1) Cntrl + F to open the search navigation pane;

(2) Click the drop-down arrow, and select “Advanced Find;”

(3) Click More (bottom left of the Advanced Find window);

(4) Select “Use Wildcards;”

(5) In the dialogue box, type: <[a-z]{2}>

Voila, you are searching for words with only 2 letters. Happy editing!

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