General Question

hummingbug3's avatar

How to replace a phrase with differing characters in a Word document?

Asked by hummingbug3 (196points) November 12th, 2013

I’m on a Mac if that helps. Specifically, I’m trying to copy and paste a skype conversation that was sent in short phrases. However, skype does not have a feature where I can copy and paste conversations without timestamps (trust me I tried). So to avoid having to go through and delete the timestamps one by one, is there a way to use the Edit>Find feature to do this? I can’t enter an exact phrase because while they are all from the same date and person, the times obviously differ. So how would I be able to select all of the different times?

Example of what I need to delete:

[11/10/13, 10:12:05 PM] John Smith:

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7 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

Is Word your only option? This sounds like a job for regular expressions.

ETpro's avatar

You can use Word’s limited support of Perl Regular Expression wildcards to do it.

johnpowell's avatar

Textmate and regular expressions to the rescue!!

Download and install Textmate Grab the alpha one. It is now free and open source!

Open the document. You should have something like this.

Edit -> Find -> Find

That should give you this. Make it look like that but leave the replace part blank.

That should give you this.

That will replace the brackets and anything within them with whatever text is in replace box.

hummingbug3's avatar

thanks you guys!! :) I’m so glad I didn’t have to go line by line _ it took up like 15 pages single spaced

ETpro's avatar

I’m all for having an industrial strength text editor if you’re a programmer. I use Textpad but personal preference, and it supports the entire set of Perl regular expressions in search and in replace. But my impression is that @hummingbug3 isn’t a Perl programmer. Word Wildcards are documented in Word and many online resources like the one I linked to above. That’s actually all that’s needed for the task.

johnpowell's avatar

Well, one of the problems with Word is that square brackets are meta characters and need to be escaped and the link you posted doesn’t really make that clear.

And one thing I totally forgot is that in OS X you can hold down the Option key and it converts the text insertion icon to a cross-hair. You can just select your text and hit delete.

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