Inline Picture – Slash bug in Word 2007 document search!

Fellow MVP Lisa Wilke-Thissen has discovered a pretty nasty bug in Word 2007. If you’re searching for a slash — / — (ASCII character 47), Word 2007 will also match any inline graphics. So, let’s say you’re searching for /^p (a slash followed by a paragraph mark). /^p will indeed match any slashes followed by paragraph marks. But, it will also perfectly match any inline graphics followed by paragraph marks. If you happen to be replacing /^p with something else, you will also end up replacing any inline graphics matched, too. /^? also matches any inline graphic.

This might not seem like a big deal to some users. However, some of us sometimes use / as a placeholder to facilitate find/replace. The / character is also a common character for a number of users in other circumstances as well.

So… when searching for /s in a Word 2007 document that also contains inline graphics, caution is advised – better be really certain before clicking Replace All. Note that the problem exists only in Word 2007 documents. When working in compatibility mode (Word 97-2003 document), the problem does not occur.

Normally, ^g is the character of choice for matching inline graphics in Word documents. In Word 2003, ^1 also works.

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