Many InDesign users have used Find/Change functions to perform simple text replacements such as changing double spaces after a period to a single space, deleting multiple returns, or replacing specific words. But the Find/Change dialog (Edit>Find/Change) is a powerful tool that can do much more than that. It offers numerous options for making automated, multiple changes throughout selected text, an individual story, an entire document, or all the documents you have open. These changes can be made not only to text, but to objects as well.

One of my favorite features is the ability to change text formatting, specifically finding and changing text styles. It’s a simple thing, but as an avid user of paragraph and character styles, the fact that I can easily change an applied style with another defined style, and do so without needing to modify my style definitions, is very helpful. So let’s say I have two subhead styles, one bold and the other all caps, and I need to switch what’s applied in an entire document. Here’s how it’s done:

Find and Change Styled Text

  1. Select Edit>Find/Change. Note: Click More Options if the Find Format and Change Format options don’t appear.
  2. Click the Find Format box, or click the Specify Attributes To Find icon, which looks like a magnifying glass, on the right of the Find Format Settings section.
  3. On the left side of the Find Format Settings dialog box, select Style Options. Remember: If you are searching to replace formatting only, make sure to leave the Find What or Change To box blank.
  4. From the list of paragraph styles, select the style you want to find and then change. Click OK.FindChangenew3
  5. To apply a new style to the text found, click the Change Format box or the Specify Attributes To Change icon.
  6. From the list of paragraph styles, select the new style you want to apply. Click OKFindChange4
  7. Now you can use the Find and Change buttons to change the format of the text.

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Posted by: Monica Murphy

Monica Murphy has worked in the publishing industry for over 30 years supporting publishing operations of various sizes. In her role as Technical Product Manager for Technology for Publishing, she shares her publishing application expertise supporting a broad range of publishing clients in InDesign best practices, cross-platform content workflows, and InDesign Template strategies. Her weekly tip and blog posts have a committed following in the InDesign community, and as a long-time participant in the InDesign pre-release community, she regularly analyzes and provides feedback for upcoming features. Monica manages the authoring and publication of Technology for Publishing’s handbooks on InDesign, InCopy, and other associated titles.