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Saturday, November 18, 2023

Phrase: Add (or take away) areas round mathematical operators

In a Fb editors’ group, AM requested the best way to use Phrase’s wildcard discover and substitute so as to add areas round mathematical operators (e.g. =, <, >, ≤, ≥, ±, +, ×, − and so on.). In every case, the character earlier than and after the operator was a numeral, resembling 34×52 or 25±0.5. What they wished was 34 × 52 or 25 ± 0.5.

On this weblog submit, I’ll first talk about the strategy for including the areas, after which for deleting them for many who DON’T need areas across the operators. In all instances, the characters both aspect of the operators is a numeral.

Cautions and warnings:

  • Some mathematical operators, such because the higher than and fewer than symbols, have particular capabilities in wildcard discover/substitute and so have to be ‘escaped’ earlier than Phrase will deal with them because the image and never because the particular character. To ‘escape’ a particular character, you MUST precede it with a .
  • Some mathematical operators can’t be typed into the Discover subject (e.g. minus or multiplication indicators)—as an alternative, insert the image into the Phrase doc after which copy it from there into the Discover subject.
  • Bear in mind {that a} sprint is NOT a minus signal and an x shouldn’t be a multiplication signal—these are sometimes used as an alternative of the proper mathematical symbols.
  • When including areas across the operator, I’ve used nonbreaking areas (represented by ^s within the Substitute) as a result of invariably you wouldn’t need these to separate over a line.
  • Flip OFF observe modifications when making this type of change—typically observe modifications will transpose characters incorrectly and it’s possible you’ll not get what you need.
  • ALWAYS ALWAYS take a look at a world change resembling Substitute All on a COPY of the doc to verify it really works appropriately earlier than working it on the principle doc.

Add nonbreaking areas round mathematical operators

The instance under makes use of the ± operator—substitute another operator on this place.

  1. Press Ctrl+h to open the Discover and Substitute window.
  2. Click on Extra.
  3. Choose the Use wildcards checkbox.
  4. Within the Discover subject, sort: ([0-9])(±)([0-9])
    • NOTE: You’ll have to copy/paste the image from the doc, or from this weblog submit.
    • NOTE: For a < you should use <, and for a > you should use >
  5. Within the Substitute subject, sort: 1^s2^s3
  6. Click on Discover Subsequent, then click on Substitute, as required. If you’re assured you received’t change something you shouldn’t, click on Substitute All.
  7. Repeat the steps above for different operators, changing the ± within the Discover string with one other operator.

How this works:

  • Every set of parentheses is a ‘unit’ within the Discover. On this instance, there are 3 units, so 3 models that Phrase treats as unit 1, 2, and three from left to proper.
  • Throughout the first and final set of parentheses (models 1 and three) is a set of sq. brackets, which signifies a spread.
  • The 0-9 contained in the sq. brackets tells Phrase the vary to search out is any numeral from 0 to 9. You solely want these numbers as a result of any variety of any dimension earlier than or after the operator will begin and finish with a single numeral, which is able to at all times be any of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9.
  • The operator is inside the center set of parentheses (i.e. unit 2)
  • The Substitute tells phrase to interchange models 1, 2 and three with themselves (utilizing 1 and so on.); in different phrases, don’t change something.
  • The ^s in between every 1, 2, and three says to insert a nonbreaking house between the models you’re changing with themselves.


  • In some instances, you’ll be able to insert a number of operators throughout the center unit and it’ll discover and substitute all of them. Don’t add areas or any punctuation between the operators. Nevertheless, in my testing this didn’t work for all (maybe there’s an inside sequence for the operators that I’m not conscious of), and I bought a ‘no gadgets discovered’ message.
  • Including a number of operators does work for the higher / lower than and higher / lower than or equal symbols. For instance, within the Discover use this: ([<>≤≥])([0-9]) and within the Substitute, use this 1^s2 (NOTE: This instance doesn’t search for a numeral earlier than the operator as usually there might not be one).

Delete areas surrounding mathematical operators

Regular areas:

Comply with the steps for including areas (above), altering these:

  • Discover: ([0-9]) (±) ([0-9])
  • Substitute: 123 (NOTE: There are NO areas on this string)

Nonbreaking areas:

Comply with the steps for including areas (above), altering these:

  • Discover: ([0-9])^s(±)^s([0-9])
  • Substitute: 123 (NOTE: There are NO areas on this string)


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