How to Change All Instances of a Word in VSCode: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing all instances of a word in Visual Studio Code (VSCode) is a breeze once you know how. In this quick overview, I’ll show you how to accomplish this task in just a few clicks. Whether you’re a seasoned coder or new to the game, this guide will make the process painless and straightforward.

Step by Step Tutorial: Changing All Instances of a Word in VSCode

Before diving into the steps, let’s understand what we’re about to do. This guide will help you change every occurrence of a specific word in your document, saving you time and ensuring consistency across your code.

Step 1: Open the Find Widget

Press Ctrl + F on your keyboard to open the Find widget.

The Find widget is a handy tool in VSCode that allows you to search for any word or phrase within your document. By opening it, you’re one step closer to making your desired changes.

Step 2: Enter the Word to be Replaced

Type the word that you want to replace in the Find input box.

Make sure you’ve entered the correct word, as any typos will affect the accuracy of the search results. If your word appears in the document, it will be highlighted.

Step 3: Open the Replace Widget

Press Ctrl + H to open the Replace widget.

The Replace widget adds a new input box below the Find box. This is where you’ll type the new word that will replace the old one.

Step 4: Enter the New Word

Type the new word you want to use in the Replace input box.

Again, double-check for typos to ensure the correct word is used in the replacement process.

Step 5: Replace All Instances

Click the "Replace All" button or press Ctrl + Alt + Enter.

This action will change every instance of the word in the document to the new word you’ve specified, streamlining your editing process.

Once you’ve completed these steps, all instances of the word you wanted to change will be replaced with the new word. This can save a significant amount of time, especially in large documents or when making widespread changes.

Tips: Changing Words Efficiently in VSCode

  • Use case sensitivity toggle to match the exact case of the word if necessary.
  • Utilize the whole word toggle to replace words that stand alone, not as part of another word.
  • Take advantage of the ‘Find in Selection’ feature to replace words within a specific part of your document.
  • Remember to save your document after making changes to avoid losing your work.
  • Use the ‘Undo’ feature (Ctrl + Z) if you make a mistake or change your mind after replacing words.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I undo the changes if I make a mistake?

Yes, press Ctrl + Z to undo your most recent change, including a bulk word replacement.

Can I replace words in multiple documents at once?

VSCode allows you to replace words across several open documents. Use the ‘Replace in Files’ feature accessed by pressing Ctrl + Shift + H.

What if I only want to replace some instances, not all?

Simply use the "Replace" button (or press Ctrl + Enter) to replace selected instances one by one.

Can I use regular expressions for more complex replacements?

Absolutely! Toggle on the ‘Use Regular Expression’ feature in the Find widget for advanced search and replace.

Is there a way to preview changes before applying them?

Yes, by clicking the "Replace" button instead of "Replace All," you can go through each instance one by one to review before committing to the change.


  1. Open the Find Widget with Ctrl + F.
  2. Enter the word to be replaced.
  3. Open the Replace Widget with Ctrl + H.
  4. Enter the new replacement word.
  5. Replace all instances with Ctrl + Alt + Enter.


There you have it, a simple yet effective way to change all instances of a word in Visual Studio Code. This tool is incredibly beneficial for developers, writers, or anyone who works with text files extensively. It’s a time-saver and ensures consistency throughout your work. Remember, the key to a successful search and replace is attention to detail. Double-check the words you’re working with and use the tips provided to tailor the process to your needs. With practice, this will become an effortless part of your editing workflow.

Whether you’re refactoring code or tidying up a document, mastering this feature in VSCode can significantly streamline your editing process. So, next time you’re faced with the tedious task of manually hunting down and updating words, remember this guide and let VSCode do the heavy lifting for you. Happy coding and editing!

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