MS Word: Replace Line Break, Paragraph Break

Learn to replace line break, paragraph break, carriage return (enter key) and new line with comma or anything else. MS Word can Find and Replace it for you!

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When we see two lines of words in an MS Word document, we don’t get to see what is separating them. There are severl characters that act as line break. There are several names; line break, new line, carriage return, paragraph break etc.

Today, while doing a bit of data processing, I was required to remove all the line breaks (carriage return) in an MS-Word document and replace line breaks with a comma. I was processing a long list of email addresses with one email address per line. And I wanted this list to become a comma separated list (CSV); so as to use it somewhere else.

In MS-Word, paragraph break is represented by invisible character (¶) which looks like a horizontally flipped P letter. You can toggle the visibility of this character by clicking a button given on the Home tab in MS Word. The button bears the same ¶ symbol. You should click this button to be able to see what exactly is separating the lines.

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If lines are breaking because of paragraph break then ¶ will appear at the end of the lines. If lines are breaking due to line break (carriage return), a left-angled arrow symbol will appear at the end. Let’s first see how to deal with paragraph break:

How to Remove / Replace Paragraph Break
  • Open the Word document that you want to work on
  • Press CTRL + H to bring up the Find and Replace box
  • In the “Find what” box type ^p [this upward arrow character is called caret and is usually available on a number key]
  • In “Replace with” box type a comma
  • Click on Replace All button.

Thus all the paragraph breaks in you document will get replaced by a comma. You can use whatever character(s) you like in “Replace with” box. For example, if you want to replace every paragraph break with two paragraph breaks –then you should type ^p^p in “Replace with” box.

If you simply want to remove paragraph breaks; just leave the “Replace with” box blank. And you’ll get a monolithic chunk of text!

READ ALSO: How to find ant replace formatting

How to Remove / Replace Line Break, Carriage Return (Enter key)
Follow the same process as given above. Instead of finding paragraph sign (^p), now you should look for line break or carriage return sign (represented by ^l). Therefore, type ^l in “Find what” box and replace it something else (or with nothing).

NOTE: This article is part of my MS Word Guide. This guide solves your day to day MS Word problems. Easily!

So, this is how you can replace line breaks, paragraph breaks and carriage returns in MS Word document. Please le t me know if you have any questions about this topic. I will be glad to try and assist you. Thank you for using TechWelkin.