How do I highlight everything in a certain language in Word 2003?
Thread poster: Edward Potter

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 25, 2010

Hello everyone.

I'm trying to find the right combination in the Find feature of Word 2003 to count the amount of Spanish words mixed together with a lot of English text.

Can anyone help out?


Koen van Gilst  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:30
German to Dutch
+ ...
Highlight all + More -> Format -> Language Jan 25, 2010

What you could try is the following:

- Open the Search dialog.
- Select: Highlight all items...
- Click on More
- Click on Format
- Click on Language and select Spanish.

Now click on Find All. You can then count the words with a normal wordcount.

Note that this technique will only work if the sentences / words are properly marked as being Spanish.

Otherwise the best thing you could do is mark all the Spanish words in a certain colour and repeat the above procedure with the Format -> Font -> Font color.

I know this all sounds rather complicated, but once you get a hang of the advanced search features of Word, you'll really learn to appreciate them!

All the best,



Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:30
English to Hungarian
+ ...
This may work... Jan 25, 2010

If the language was set as Spanish for the Spanish text then this method may work; if it was not, and Word interprets the Spanish parts as English text with lots of spelling mistakes, then it won't. However, even if it works, it requires some checking on your part.

Koen's solution works fine.

If you want to approach from styles, you will encounter some problems. The language attribute is quite a particular parameter of the style. When you select the text, click on the double-A icon of the style, and choose "reveal formatting", it shows up in the "Language" part -- but you cannot select it as an attribute for F/R operations the same way you can choose formatting (bold, etc.). In other words, if you start out with a doc written in Normal style throughout, and you have a word in bold, then "Normal + bold" shows up in the Style box for that word. You can select all words of that formatting. This is not the case with the language parameter, so it is in a sense hidden.

While Koen's solution works fine for this problem, a more general workaround can work well for other similar hidden attributes. You need a format in which this information is explicitly shown. Html is one way to go.

  1. Convert the text to HTML in Word: [Save as: Web page (*.htm., *.html)]

  2. Open the source code.
    Here you will see the language parameters, such as

    < p class = MsoNormal > < span lang=EN-US style='mso-ansi-language:EN-US' > This is English.
    < o:p >< /o:p >< /span >< / p >

    < p class=MsoNormal >< span lang=ES style='mso-ansi-language:ES' >Este es el español.< o:p >< /o:p >< / span >< / p >

    (Note that I inserted spaces so that it is not interpreted as html code and converted.

  3. Replace

    < p class=MsoNormal >< span lang=ES style='mso-ansi-language:ES' > by
    < p class=MsoNormal >< span lang=ES style='mso-ansi-language:ES' >

    < p class = MsoNormal > < span lang=EN-US style='mso-ansi-language:EN-US' > by
    < p class = MsoNormal > < span lang=EN-US style='mso-ansi-language:EN-US' >

    Then all Spanish text will be bold, and all English text will be not bold. (If bold is used for another purpose, you can select another formatting).

  4. Since the two styles are now different, you can use Word's F/R function efficiently.

Kind regards,

[Edited at 2010-01-25 11:41 GMT]


Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It worked (for the most part) Jan 25, 2010

Thank you both, Koen and Attila.

I tried Koen's solution, which was was I was looking for. I was checking the box next to Find all Word Forms (Spanish), which was not the correct way to do it.

The correct way, as Koen said, was to go to Format > Language..., and highlight everything in that language.

Most of my Spanish text was highlighted, which I can now easily count. There were a few blocks of text that did not get highlighted, probably because they are being identified as incorrectly spelled English words.

That would bring me to Attila's solution, which is more involved. I'll play with that later when I have time.



To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

How do I highlight everything in a certain language in Word 2003?

Advanced search

CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search