11 | Housekeeping Find/Replace

This is the part where stray bugaboos get gone, courtesy of Find/Replace. Time to switch over to the word processor selected for Find/Replace.

Section Index

ACTION list: File Version

  1. Boot up the Find/Replace word processor.
  2. Open prep_projectx file in the Find/Replace word processor.
  3. Use SaveAs to rename the file: hk_projectx
  4. Throughout the housekeeping section, work only in the hk_projectx version.

‘hk’ is short for housekeeping, Meatbag. (Fist-bump if you get the reference.)


First, take a look at the Find/Replace window itself. Even though this version is found in Microsoft Word 2013, most word processors are pretty similar.

The circled buttons are important. People get frustrated hunting for stuff; lots of it can be found in those Format and Special drop-down menus at the bottom of the pane.

Find/Replace Basics:

  • The “Format” button opens a pulldown menu that gives access to just about every damn thing in the world. Have a look around in there. Extremely useful stuff. Likewise the “Special” button, but since this tutorial uses text shortcuts instead, there’s no need to venture in there.
  • The “No Formatting” button clears any formatting applied to the find or replace fields. “No Formatting” remains grayed out unless the cursor is parked in a field with formatting applied to it. So basically, you can’t clear formatting unless there’s formatting to be cleared.
  • Word keyboard shortcut to open the Find/Replace window: ctrl+H.
  • Meet the caret mark. ^ Find it on the keyboard. It’s shift+6. This awesome little bugger tells Word to look for a non-printing character.

I have no way of knowing which word-processor you’re using. The steps to load your Find/Replace fields might differ. Google is your friend.

Find & Replaces:

REMEMBER: Work only in the hk_projectx file version.

Perform these Find/Replaces in the order listed.


  1. Find: ^t
  2. Replace: (Make sure this field is completely empty.
  3. Click Replace All.

NOTE: This F/R was temporarily removed from the tutorial because tabs do not survive the drop into the plain-text editor. On the other hand, I do understand the argument that there’s always the odd word processor that might do something weird, so this step has been restored, just in case.

Manual line breaks:

  1. Find:^l (lowercase L)
  2. Replace: (make sure this space is empty. Click inside the field and press delete until your computer makes a bitchy noise.)
  3. Click Replace All.

Page breaks:

  1. Find:^m
  2. Replace: (make sure this space is empty.)
  3. Click Replace All.

Section Breaks:

  1. Find:^b
  2. Replace: (make sure this space is empty.)
  3. Click Replace All.

Extra paragraph returns:

  1. Find:^p^p
  2. Replace: ^p
  3. Click Replace All. Repeat until your WP tells you it made zero replacements. (It might get stuck on 1. It happens a lot. I don’t know why.)

Yes, I know your entire book just got mushified. Chill.

Stray spaces #1:

  1. Find: (press spacebar twice)
  2. Replace: (press spacebar once)
  3. Click Replace All and repeat until your WP says it made zero replacements. (Sometimes it gets stuck at one.)

Stray spaces #2:

  1. Find: ^p(press the spacebar once)
  2. Replace: ^p
  3. Click Replace All.

Stray spaces #3:

  1. Find (press the spacebar once)^p
  2. Replace: ^p
  3. Click Replace All.

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