How to Find Carriage Returns in OpenOffice

Written by andrew mcclain
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OpenOffice's text application operates like a lot of other word processors, meaning it behaves like a computerised typewriter. On a typewriter, you hit the Return key at the end of the line to advance the paper and start a new line. The "Enter" button on your computer behaves the same. OpenOffice hides carriage returns by default, but you can search for three different kinds: the normal return (where you press "Enter" and it creates a new paragraph), soft return (where you press "Shift" + "Enter," the cursor goes to the next line, but it is not a new paragraph) or an empty line (a carriage return without any text). There are two ways to find carriage returns in OpenOffice: through the main menu or with the Find & Replace feature.

Skill level:


    Show Carriage Returns with the Toolbar

  1. 1

    Open an OpenOffice document.

  2. 2

    Click the "Nonprinting Characters" button on the main toolbar. You can also press the Ctrl + F10 keys. All the characters that do not print, including carriage returns, will appear on the screen.

  3. 3

    Click the "Nonprinting Characters" button a second time to hide the characters.

    Find Carriage Returns with Find & Replace

  1. 1

    Open an OpenOffice document.

  2. 2

    Select "Edit," "Find & Replace" from the main menu to open the Find & Replace dialogue box.

  3. 3

    Enter the appropriate symbol in the "Search for" field: use "$" to search for regular carriage returns, "\n" to find soft carriage returns and "^$" to find empty paragraphs. If you want to replace them with a different character, enter it in the "Replace with" field.

  4. 4

    Click the "Find" button to start the search. Each return type you search for will be highlighted in order on the page. To replace it with the character in the "Replace with" field, click the "Replace" or "Replace All" buttons.

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