How to Select All Matching Text in Google Docs

557652 How to Select All Matching Text in Google Docs

Selecting all instances of a word or phrase in Google Docs can be useful for quickly applying formatting or editing text. Here are some methods to select all matching text in Google Docs.

Use Find and Replace

The Find and Replace tool in Google Docs allows you to search for words or phrases. While it doesn’t have an option to directly select all matches, you can use it to efficiently find and format text:

  1. Press Ctrl+H (Windows/ChromeOS) or ⌘+H (Mac) to open the Find and Replace sidebar
  2. Type the word or phrase you want to find in the “Find” box
  3. Click “Find” to jump to the first match
  4. Click “Find” again to jump to the next match
  5. Apply formatting to each match as needed, like making text bold or underlined
  6. Click “Replace” or “Replace all” to replace the matches with formatted text

While this method requires manually formatting each match, it lets you efficiently jump between them.

Use Select All Matching Text

Google Docs has a “Select All Matching Text” option that can instantly highlight all matches:

  1. Select an example of the text you want to highlight
  2. Right click and choose “Select All Matching Text”
  3. All matches will be selected, allowing you to apply formatting to all at once

This is the fastest way to select and uniformly format multiple text matches.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

You can use keyboard shortcuts to select all text between your cursor and the beginning or end of the document:

  • Ctrl + A (Windows/ChromeOS) or ⌘ + A (Mac): Select all text
  • Ctrl + Shift + Home (Windows/ChromeOS) or ⌘ + Shift + ← (Mac): Select all text from cursor to beginning
  • Ctrl + Shift + End (Windows/ChromeOS) or ⌘ + Shift + → (Mac): Select all text from cursor to end

Position your cursor at the start or end of the text you want to select, then use these shortcuts to select entire sections efficiently.

Select Multiple Sections

Google Docs allows selecting multiple separate text sections at once:

  1. Select one section of text
  2. Hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift (Windows/ChromeOS) or ⌘ + Ctrl + Shift (Mac)
  3. Press or to extend selection to another section
  4. Repeat to add more sections to the selection

This lets you select text in disjointed sections and format them simultaneously.

Use Regular Expressions

You can leverage regular expressions (regex) in the Find and Replace tool to match complex patterns:

  1. Press Ctrl + H (Windows/ChromeOS) or ⌘ + H (Mac) to open Find and Replace
  2. Click the dropdown next to “Find” and enable “Match using regular expressions”
  3. Enter a regex search pattern like ([A-Z]{3})+\s(\d{4}) to match abbreviations and numbers
  4. Click “Find” to jump between matches
  5. Apply formatting as needed

Regex provides extremely flexible text matching capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about selecting all matching text in Google Docs:

How do I select all instances of a formatted text style?

Select some text with the formatting, right click, and choose “Select all matching text”. This will highlight all text with the same formatting.

Can I select multiple separate words at once?

Yes, use the multiple selection keyboard shortcuts to add disjointed selections for different words.

What’s the easiest way to highlight all matches of a long phrase?

Use the “Select All Matching Text” option. Just highlight an example of the phrase and it will automatically select all matches.

How do I select text matching a complex pattern?

Enable regular expressions in Find and Replace, then enter a regex to match intricate text patterns.


Selecting all instances of text in Google Docs is simple using built-in tools like Find and Replace, keyboard shortcuts, and the “Select All Matching Text” option. Regular expressions provide advanced matching capabilities to precisely target text. Leverage these methods to efficiently format, edit, or analyze text across an entire document.

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