May 8

Your collaborating or editing a Word document and you come across missing spaces with everything crammed together. No spaces after commas, no space after colons, no spaces inserted on either side of parentheses or brackets. Well, there’s a quick way to go through your document quickly inserting the missing spaces.

Let’s have a look at inserting spaces after commas where these are missing. The others follow a similar pattern. Open your document and fire up Search and Replace in Word (Ctrl-H), turn on Wildcards, and in the search box type (,)([! ])

Insert spaces in Word

Notice there’s a space after the exclamation mark. Briefly you are telling Word to search for a comma followed by anything EXCEPT a space (represented by the exclamation mark followed by a space in brackets). In the replace box, type \1 \2 (with a space between the \1 and \2).  This is instructing Word to take the first set of search parameters between the first parentheses in the search box (now represented by \1), then insert a space, then follow that by what is in the second set of search data between the second set of parentheses (now represented by \2). This will now insert spaces after the comma where there wasn’t one.

You can take this further with the following in the search box:

(:)([! ]) search for a colon without a space after it

([)])([! ]) search for a closing parenthesis without a space after it

([! ])([(]) search for an opening parenthesis without a space before it

The replace box remains the same.

One other thing. Turn off tracked changes if they are turned on before you try this. It doesn’t work with tracked changes on.

I hope that helps you to quickly add spaces where they are needed in your Word documents. Interested in taking this further? Here’s a useful webpage I found with tips on Find and Replace using Wildcards.

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