Using Wildcards to Change Chicago-Style Number Ranges to Regular-Style Number Ranges

By Jack Lyon, the Editorium

Are you getting the most you can from Microsoft Word? Wildcard search is one of the most powerful features in Word. You can use it to quickly find errors and make changes throughout a document in a matter of seconds. In this article, learn how to use Word wildcards to change Chicago-style number ranges to regular-style number rangers.

Using Wildcards to Change Chicago-Style Number Ranges to Regular-Style Number Ranges

You can use wildcards to do lots of things with page numbers. For example, let’s say your author has used Chicago-style number ranges (and used hyphens) like this:

See pages 342-49.

But the publisher’s style calls for regular-style number ranges (with en dashes) like this:

See pages 342–349.

Here are the wildcard strings you’d need to do that; the “Find what” string includes three bracketed number ranges in three parenthetical groups, which are referred to in the “Replace with” string with \1, \2, and \3:

Find what:


Replace with:


The “Find what” string finds a single number (one through nine, in the first group), followed by any two numbers (in the second group), followed by a hyphen, followed by any two numbers (in the third group).

The “Replace with” string inserts the single number found, the two numbers found together, an en dash, the same single number found (using \1 again), and the last two numbers found, giving us this:

See pages 342–349.

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In the Wildcard Cookbook for Microsoft Word, you’ll learn how to build your own wildcard searches with detailed screenshots and instructions. You will gain the confidence you need to implement these time-saving strategies in your work. And if you love the idea of wildcards but are not ready to write your own, the Wildcard Cookbook includes real-world examples that you can simply copy and paste!

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