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New must-have tool for translators – Multiple Find & Replace tool for Microsoft Word

It has been several months since the previous newsletter which announced the release of TransTools+, a suite of tools for professional translators, editors, copyeditors and DTP specialists. Now I would like to tell you about a new must-have productivity tool which has just been added to TransTools+: Multiple Find & Replace tool.

Introducing Multiple Find & Replace tool

Multiple Find & Replace tool is a powerful substitute / addition to Advanced Find & Replace dialogue and Navigation pane which perform search and replacement in Microsoft Word. With the help of this tool, you will be able to search Word documents for multiple words and phrases, review all occurrences within document context, and then replace or format them. This tool is built around lists of search expressions that you can improve over time or create on ad-hoc basis. It supports Word's search syntax (including Word wildcards) as well as powerful .NET regular expressions that allow you to perform complex search and replacement, e.g. to transform number, date and currency formats.

Multiple Find & Replace tool pane
Multiple Find & Replace tool pane with a sample list of search phrases to catch common punctuation and spacing problems

Here are the tool’s most significant features:

  • Automatically replace all occurrences of words / phrases defined in your list by using Replace All button.
  • Use Microsoft Word's Find & Replace syntax for simple search and replacement, or use the powerful .NET regular expressions to perform complex searches and replacements.
  • Confirm each replacement before it is made by using Find / Replace buttons.
  • Display a list of all occurrences of words / phrases defined in your list using Find All button, and then see each occurrence in document context and preview how the text will appear after the replacement is made.
  • Decide which found occurrences of words / phrases need to be processed, and use Replace Selected button to replace selected occurrences or Format Selected button to apply font formatting or highlight color to these occurrences.
  • Search for text that has specific font formatting (including Bold, Italic, Underline style, Font Color, Font Size, Subscript and Superscript, Strikethrough and Double Strikethrough, All Caps and Small Caps), and apply specific font formatting during replacement or formatting operation.
  • Modify the replacement text of specific occurrences of words / phrases based on context, if the initial replacement text must be tweaked.

The most convenient feature of Multiple Find & Replace tool is the ability to find all occurrences of the search phrases from your list:

Search results tab
Find All button allows you to find all occurrences of search phrases from your list which are then displayed in a convenient list.

The found occurrences are displayed in a convenient list. You can then do the following:

  1. Select which occurrences need to be replaced and formatted by ticking/unticking the corresponding occurrences.
  2. Review each occurrence in document context by selecting the corresponding row in the list. This will select the occurrence within the document.
  3. See how an occurrence will be replaced by hovering the mouse over the eye icon.
  4. Modify the replacement text of a specific occurrence if the initial replacement text does not fit the context.
  5. Replace all selected replacements (and apply optional formatting to them) using Replace Selected button, or apply formatting and color highlighting only (without replacing the text) by clicking Format Selected button.

Multiple Find & Replace tool has numerous benefits over the built-in Advanced Find & Replace command and the search feature in the Navigation Pane in Microsoft Word:

  1. Find/replace several different items at the same time.
  2. Use powerful .NET regular expressions to find/replace any text.
  3. Find all occurrences of the search expressions defined in your list and decide which ones need to be replaced or formatted, with the ability to change them manually.
  4. Apply specific formatting to the text found by your search expressions.
  5. Manage any number of lists.
  6. Give descriptive names to your search expressions in order to understand what they are designed for or what kind of text was found with Find All button.

Power of Multiple Find & Replace tool

Multiple Find & Replace is not only a tool that allows you to perform several search or replacement operations in one go. It is a tool that gives you limitless possibilities in finding text and changing this text or its formatting. To let you appreciate the power of Multiple Find & Replace tool, I have created several advanced examples of its use:

  1. Use case 1: Apply subscript formatting to numbers in common chemical names.

    Example: replace water H2O with H2O, carbon dioxide CO2 with CO2, oxygen O2 with O2, vitamins B1, B6, B12 with B1, B6, B12.

    Solution: use .NET regular expression to find digits that are preceded (and followed) by certain text, and apply subscript formatting to the found text.

    Search and replacement parameters:

    Find What:
    CO2: (?<=\bCO)2\b
    H2O: (?<=\bH)2(?=O)\b
    Vitamins B1, B6, B12: (?<=\bB)(1|6|12)\b
    Find text with specific formatting - YES, parameters: Subscript=No (this makes sure that you are not applying subscript to text that is already in subscript.
    Replacement Text: (do not type any text here so that only replacement formatting is applied)
    Apply specific formatting upon replacement - YES, parameters: Subscript=Yes, Superscript=No.

  2. Use case 2: Apply italic formatting to titles that occur within straight single quotation marks.

    Example: 'The New York Times' => The New York Times.

    Solution: use .NET regular expression to find straight single quotation marks and the text within them, then replace this text with the text that occurs within the quotation marks.

    Search and replacement parameters:

    Find What: '([^']+)'
    Replacement Text: $1 ($1 means the text that was matched by the first capturing group denoted by parentheses).
    Apply specific formatting upon replacement - YES, parameters: Italic=Yes.

  3. Use case 3: Find email addresses.

    Solution: find email addresses using common regular expressions that can be found on the Internet.

    Search and replacement parameters:

    Find What: ([a-zA-Z0-9_\-\.]+)@([a-zA-Z0-9_\-\.]+)\.([a-zA-Z]{2,5}) (this is a simple regex, more complex ones that match additional uncommon syntax may be found at http://emailregex.com/)

How Multiple Find & Replace will help you

Let me summarize where Multiple Find & Replace tool will save you a lot of time:

  • Review documents for potential mistakes or style guide requirements: create a search expression list on the basis of a list of common mistakes or your customer's style guide requirements, and use this list for checking documents using Find All button. You will be presented with a list of all occurrences and it will take you only a couple of minutes to find all the real issues before making replacements. As you review the potential issues, you can update the list to make it more effective for future documents.
  • Make last-minute changes to Word documents already submitted to your customer: if your customer requests certain changes to be made in documents you already translated, you can quickly create an ad-hoc search expression list, then make replacements in each document using this list.
  • Change number, currency or date formats in a document: Multiple Find & Replace tool supports .NET regular expressions which allow you to make very complex changes in your documents. For example, you can change U.S. date format ‘03/15/2019’ to UK date format ‘15/03/2019’, or change currency format like ‘100 €’ to ‘€100’.
  • Format text the way you want: you can apply specific formatting to selected occurrences of search expressions, or replace and format the text at the same time. For example, in English documents you can replace all phrases inside quotation marks with italicized text,
    e.g. “The New York Times” => The New York Times.
  • Color-highlight potential issues for manual review: if it is more convenient for you to perform replacements manually, you can apply color highlighting to all occurrences of your search expressions and then review them later.
  • Change text from one language dialect or character representation to another one: e.g. convert from American English to British English or vice versa, convert between half-width and fullwidth characters in Japanese, etc.
  • Do many more things.

I invite you to take a close look at the new Multiple Find & Replace tool. More information about it is available here, and you can evaluate it without any limitations for 30 days.

Finding the current editing location with Find Selection command

Besides Multiple Find & Replace tool, the new version of TransTools+ includes a new command that will make it easy for you to find the current selection or editing location (caret) in a Word document. The command is called Find Selection. It scrolls the document to the selected text and blinks the selection if it is hard to notice:

Find Selection command in action

What’s coming in future releases?

TransTools+ is a young product with lots of features planned for the coming months. One of the next versions will contain a batch processing tool that will allow you to process many documents simultaneously using certain functions of Hide/Unhide Text tool, Highlighting Tool or Multiple Find & Replace tool. Other powerful features are in store so watch future issues of TransTools newsletter closely.

If you want me to add a certain tool in TransTools+, let me know and I will include this tool in the road map or re-prioritize it.

Evaluating and buying TransTools+

TransTools+ does not require TransTools suite to be installed and can be installed side by side with it.

You can use any tool that is part of TransTools+ without limitations for 30 days. To continue using it after that, you will need to buy a license at a very affordable price.

If you already hold a license for TransTools Professional Edition, you can obtain a special coupon code which you can apply in order to receive a 30% discount for a full TransTools+ license. If you did not receive this coupon code previously and it does not arrive in your mailbox within the next few days, let me know at support@translatortools.net and I will re-send it to your alternative email address.

TransTools+ is not distributed under the annual subscription model which has become so common these days. Your license will be valid for the current major version of TransTools+, and new major versions will be released approximately every 2 years. All updates within the current major version will be free of charge, and you will also get technical support. You may activate TransTools+ licenses on up to 3 computers simultaneously provided that these computers belong to the same individual or employee.

 

Download TransTools+ today and enjoy this software which will make you even more productive!

 

Developed by Stanislav Okhvat, 2007–2019

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