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Use formula words in the Replace Text tool

You can use the Replace Text tool for basic replacements, such as changing "summer" to "autumn." You can also use this tool to perform more advanced changes, such as replacing "summer" in all your ad headlines with the associated ad group or campaign name. These advanced replacements are possible with formula words.

Formula words represent the text in a particular column in AdWords Editor. For example, [adgroup] is a formula word that represents the text currently in the Ad Group column for the selected row.

Use the Replace Text tool

  1. Select the ads you want to edit.
  2. Go to the Edit menu > Replace Text.
  3. In "Find text," type the text to be replaced.
  4. In "Replace with," type your new text.
  5. Optional: To create duplicates of the selected rows and modify the duplicates instead of the original items, select the Make changes in duplicate items checkbox.
  6. Click Replace.

How the Replace Text tool works

The Replace Text tool is tab-sensitive, so the fields that the tool can modify vary for each tab. For example, you can't modify the campaign name when you're on the Ads tab in the type list, and you can only edit keywords when you're on the Keywords tab.

The tool works row by row; whatever matches your command in the first row is changed, then it moves on to the next row.

Formula words in Replace Text tool

You can use formula words in either the "Find text" or the "Replace with" fields, or in both at the same time. You can also combine the formula words with other words. For example, your replacement text could be "new [adgroup]." See example 1 below for an illustration.

How to format formula words

Formula words must be enclosed in square brackets. Capitalization within the square brackets doesn't matter, but spacing does. For example, [ADGROUP] and [adgroup] both work as a formula word for the Ad Group column, but [Ad group] doesn't.

Available formula words in AdWords Editor include:

[account] - Account name
[campaign] - Campaign name
[adgroup] - Ad group name
[keyword] - Keyword text
[headline] - Ad headline
[description1] - Ad description line 1
[description2] - Ad description line 2
[displayUrl] - Display URL text
[finalURL] - Final URL text
[field] - The original text of the field you're changing

See examples using formula words.

1. Insert the account, campaign, or ad group name into your keywords. Suppose you're running a campaign for grocery stores with the locations as your ad group names. You could replace the word 'grocery store' in your keywords with [adgroup] grocery store.

Start:

Ad Group
New York
California

Keyword
grocery store
grocery store


Find text: grocery store
Replace with: [adgroup] grocery store

Finish:

Ad Group
New York
California

Keyword
new york grocery store
california grocery store

2. Insert the account, campaign, or ad group name into your ad text. Suppose you have general ad text in each ad group in your account, and your ad group and campaign names have more specific geographical and seasonal words. You can use 'Replace Text' to make the ad text more specific.

Start:

Campaign
Summer
Summer

Ad Group
New York
Paris

Headline
Cheap hotel
Cheap hotel

Find text: [headline]
Replace with: [headline] in [adgroup] for [campaign]

Finish:

Campaign
Summer
Summer

Ad Group
New York
Paris

Headline
Cheap hotel in New York for summer
Cheap hotel in Paris for summer

3. Update multiple ad group names at once. Suppose you create new campaigns for a large holiday promotion, and you fill the new campaigns with ad groups copied from a summer campaign. Now you want to make the new ad group names reflect the new campaign.

Start:

Campaign
Christmas
Holiday

Ad Group
Summer gifts
Summer shoes


Find text: summer
Replace with: [campaign]

Finish:

Campaign
Christmas
Holiday

Ad Group
Christmas gifts
Holiday shoes

4. Update every editable field in your selection. If you ever need to do this, you can use the [field] formula word. Remember, the editable fields change for each tab. For example, on the Ad Groups tab, the ad group name is the only editable text field. Using the [field] formula word on this tab would have the result below.

Start:

Campaign
Flowers
Gifts

Ad Group
Roses
Greeting cards

Find text: [field]
Replace with: Beautiful [field]

Finish:

Campaign
Flowers
Gifts

Ad Group
Beautiful Roses
Beautiful Greeting cards

Note that the Append Text tool is another way to simply add a word before or after the existing text in a particular column.

Finally, here are two cautionary examples:

1. When you insert a formula word into your text to find or replace, be aware that the tool looks for words, not just fields. For example, if you put [headline] in your 'Find' text, you're asking the tool to find and edit the text that appears in the headline field, wherever it appears in your selection. You're not asking it only to edit the headline field. If you have the same text in your headline field and the description line field for a given row, both will be replaced.

Start:

Headline
Safe, Fun Toys

Description Line 1
Safe, fun toys for children

Find text: [headline]
Replace with: Buy [headline]

Finish:

Headline
Buy Safe, Fun Toys

Description Line 1
Buy Safe, fun toys for children

To contain your edits within a particular column, you can select the column in the drop-down menu in the Replace Text tool. In the example above, you could select 'Headline' to make sure the edits only apply to the headline field.

2. If a field contains a formula word, Replace Text won't find it. Suppose you specify the following replacement on the Text Ads tab.

Start:

Campaign
Christmas

Ad Group
Gifts

Headline
Safe, fun toys for [adgroup]

Find text: [adgroup]
Replace with: [campaign]

Finish:

Campaign
Christmas

Ad Group
Gifts

Headline
Safe, fun toys for [adgroup]

There was no change, because the Replace Text tool doesn't find literal formula words. To find formula words in your account, use the basic search box above the data view.

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