Using Wildcards to Change Regular Page Ranges to Chicago-Style Page 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 regular page ranges to Chicago-style page ranges.

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

What if you wanted to go from regular-style numbers to Chicago style? That’s a complicated switch, requiring three separate Find/Replace operations:

1. Numbers that take the form 104-105 need to be converted to 104–5:

Find what:


Replace with:


There’s a neat trick going on in that “Find what” string. The first number grouping, ([1-9]), is being referred to by the \1 that follows the hyphen. See it? Just before the 0 there? That tells Word to find (again) whatever was found by the first number grouping. Yes, using \1, \2, or whatever, you can refer to a group in the “Find what” box as well as in the “Replace with” box!

That means when the search hits something like “203-205,” it says, “Hey, my first number group finds 2 [the first number in 203]. Let’s see, is there also a 2 after the hyphen? Yes, there is!”

2. Numbers that take the form 104-110 need to be converted to 104–10:

Find what:


Replace with:


3. Numbers that take the form 111-112 or 119-120 need to be converted to 111–12 or 119–20:

Find what:


Replace with:


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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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