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Can't "Find" certain characters in MS Word sometimes

Hello,

When using the Find and Replace box in MS Word (2010), I have noticed that on some occasions, Word will find certain characters and on other occasions it will not.  However, I have not been able to determine what brings about this different behavior.

For example, earlier today, I was working on one particular Word doc and with the Find and Replace box open, I was able to find (and replace if I wanted) left and right brackets as well as left and right curly brackets.  I was also able to use an asterisk within the brackets (i.e. "[*]") to find and replace words or phrases.

However, now when I try to find either a left or right bracket, I get an error alert saying:

          "The Find What text contains a range that is not valid."

Also, if I set the box to use wildcards and then enter [*] as the Find What argument, the only thing it finds is periods (i.e. ".")

If someone could shed some light upon what is causing this behavior, I would very much appreciate it.

Thanks

PS  By the way, I always use Find & Replace (Ctrl+H) even when I just want to find something and not replace it.  The reason is that I find the new Ctrl+F panel to be confusing and cumbersome.
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Commented:
The [ ] option with "use wildcards" enabled denotes specific ranges to search for. For example [13579] will find odd numbers. The details are here:
http://www.gmayor.com/replace_using_wildcards.htm


PS. The Find dialogue is the same as the Find & Replace dialogue except the Replace with field is not shown. This is in Office 2007. I don't recall 2010 being different (though haven't used it for a while).