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  • Word (Office 365): Search string longer than 255 characters

    Posted on WSianrwilson05 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Microsoft Office by version Word (Office 365): Search string longer than 255 characters

    • This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 5 months ago.
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      • #2140038 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        Is there a way to get around the 255 character limitation in the Word “Find” function?

        I’ve seen a couple of suggested macros elsewhere, but they don’t seem to work and I don’t have the VBA skills to create a macro to do this.


      • #2140090 Reply

        255 is an important number in computing, because 255 = 2^8 – 1 (2 to the eighth power, minus 1). Here’s why:
        * At the lowest and most basic level, a computer speaks in “binary”; that is, the only digits it can understand are 0 and 1. The two digits correspond to the “2” in the above formula.
        * When the original IBM PC came out, it was an 8-bit machine. That “8” corresponds to the “8” in the above formula.
        * When a computer is counting at the lowest level, it always starts with zero, not with one. That’s why there is a “- 1” in the above formula.

        Having said all that, if the search algorithm is 8-bit (a possibility, if it hasn’t been modernized), the maximum number of characters it can search on is 255. Some things have not been modernized in order to maintain backward compatibility, and the Word search function might be one of those things. For decades, there have been a huge amount of things with 8-bit limitations in computing, so my guess is that the Word search function is one of those things.

        An example of an 8-bit number would be an IP address. An IP address consists of four 8-bit numbers; hence, the highest possible IP address would be (Well, the highest IP v.4 address).

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