The Secret To Converting Paragraph Breaks Into Line Breaks And Creating Comma Separated Lists


By: Drew McManus

Pretty much every arts administrator knows the pain of looking at a long list of content in a Microsoft Word document where each line is separated by a paragraph, but you need them separated by line breaks. You could go through and manually change each…and…every…one or you can use this Find and Replace trick to do the entire doc in seconds.

Convert Paragraph To Line Breaks (and vice versa)

  1. Use CTRL + H to bring up the Find and Replace dialog box and in the Find whatfield enter ^p (the upward arrow character is a caret and is usually available on the “6” number key).
  2. In the Replace with field enter ^l (the caret character and lower case “L”).
  3. Select Replace All and watch the magic!
  4. Your paragraph list is now a tidy line break list.

Swap ^p and ^l if you need to convert a line break list into paragraphs.

Convert Paragraph (Or Line Break) Lists To A Comma Separated List

If you work with data import, you’re probably well acquainted with comma separated lists, the life blood of field import formats in most database platforms. You can use a similar trick to convert a long list of paragraph or line separated names.

  1. Use CTRL + H to bring up the Find and Replace dialog box and in the Find whatfield enter ^p (or ^l if the source list is line separated).
  2. In the Replace with field enter , (be sure there are no errant spaces in the mix).
  3. Select Replace All and you have a near perfect comma separated list.
  4. I say near perfect because there may have been an extra paragraph/line break at the end of the list and if so, the process will convert that to a comma as well. If so, be sure to manually remove it before using the list for the forces of comma separated list goodness.
Drew McManus
Drew McManus
In addition to my consulting business, I'm also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I'm just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower. With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists. For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, lead an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.
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