Writing a book, especially a large novel, is more than just “writing”. It’s mostly editing, and rewriting, and searching, and crafting. Say you need to change the name of a character, or you have a penchant for using certain unclever words way too often - use Dabble's Find and Replace tool to quickly make edits.
Find and Replace Tool
The Find and Replace tool is exactly what it sounds like: it finds and highlights a word you’ve searched for, lets you jump through your text to see just that word, and allows you to change that word to a different word universally or incrementally. The left-hand nav menu also highlights the files where that word exists, like in the Story Notes and individual Chapters.
Open the Find and Replace tool in Dabble just like you would online or with a common word processor by using the shortcut:
CTRL + F on a PC
CMD + F on a Mac
The command box opens to the top left of your screen. Type a word in the field and your Manuscript lights up with instances of your word. From here you can use the arrows in the command box to jump to each instance. This is the “Find” half of Dabble’s tool.
For the “Replace” half of the tool, click on the gear icon in the Find and Replace command box to open the Preferences. The Find feature has a default check by it, but if you click the Find and Replace feature, a second entry field opens up.
Type the word you want to replace in the top field, and the word you want to change it to in the bottom field. Select “all” if you want to change every single instance of that word in your Manuscript or “one” if you just want to replace one single use of that word. Use the up and down arrows to jump to the next or previous instance. All words are highlighted yellow, but the orange highlighted word with the bold, italic, and quote symbols above it is the currently selected word.
From the preferences menu, you also can narrow your search down to capture specific instances of your word. In addition to both “Find” and “Find and Replace” you can:
Find in Chapter: searches only in the selected Chapter.
Find in Project: searches your entire project, including Plot Grids and Story Notes.
Match Whole Word: only includes word instances that are exactly what you typed, including spaces.
Match Case: only includes word instances that match the case (capitalization) of what you typed.
Use Regular Expression: only if you’re a programmer. Click this link if you’re brave and want to learn how to use this feature.
Example: Changing a Character’s Name
Say you want to rename your main character from “Will” to “William”. Since this is everywhere in your book, select:
- Find and Replace
- Find in Project
- Match Whole Word
- Match Case
By choosing Match Whole Word, you’re filtering out words that include the letters W-I-L-L inside of them, like “goodwill” and “willingly”.
By choosing Match Case, you’re also filtering out the lowercase versions of “will” while keeping the uppercase versions of “Will”. This way you preserve sentences like “Will said he will storm the castle if the Evil Knight doesn’t surrender” where only the first instance of “Will” refers to your character. If Match Case isn’t turned on, you could end up changing that sentence to “William said he William storm the castle…” which is an oopsie.
Pro Tip: Match Case doesn’t filter out instances of the verb “will” at the beginning of sentences where they're capitalized. So use Find and Replace (with One selected) to make sure everything is correct after you Replace All.
Turn Find and Replace Off
If you prefer the native Find and Replace feature, (the one that comes standard with your computer) you can turn Dabble’s off. On the top right-hand side of Dabble, click on your name and select Preferences. Select Prefer Native Find and your normal search and find comes back the next time you type CTRL + F or CMD + F.
Now that you’ve mastered Find and Replace, get to editing your book!