Search For Text in Excel

How to Search For Text in Excel?

When we work with excel, we see so many situations that are peculiar in nature, and one of those situations is searching for the particular text in the cell. The first thing that comes to mind when we say we want to search for a particular text in the worksheet is the “Find & Replace” method in excel, and that is the most popular one too. But Ctrl + F can find you the text you are looking for but cannot go beyond that. Let’s say if the cell contains certain words, you may want the result in the next cell as “TRUE” or else FALSE. So Ctrl + F stops there.

Search For Text in Excel

You are free to use this image on your website, templates etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Search For Text in Excel (wallstreetmojo.com)

Here we will take you through the formulas which can search for the particular text in the cell value and arrive at the result.

You can download this Search For Text Excel Template here – Search For Text Excel Template

Which Formula Can Tell Us A Cell Contains Specific Text?

This is the question I have seen many times in excel forums. The very first formula that came to my mind was to “FIND” function.

Find function can return the position of the supplied text values in the string. So if the FIND method returns any number, then we can consider the cell as it has the text or else not.

  1. For example, look at the below data.


    Search For Text Excel Example 1

  2. In the above data, we have three sentences in three different rows. Now in each cell, we need to search for the text “Best.” So apply the FIND function.


    Search For Text Excel Example 1-1

  3. In the Find Text argument, mention the text that we need to find.

    Search For Text Excel Example 1-2

  4. Within Text, select the full sentence, i.e., cell referenceCell ReferenceCell reference in excel is referring the other cells to a cell to use its values or properties. For instance, if we have data in cell A2 and want to use that in cell A1, use =A2 in cell A1, and this will copy the A2 value in A1.read more.

    Search For Text Excel Example 1-3

  5. The last parameter is not required to close the bracket and hit the enter key.

    Search For Text Excel Example 1-4

    So, in two sentences, we have the word “best.” We can see the error value of #VALUE! in the cell B2 that shows that the cell A2 doesn’t have the text value “best.”

  6. Instead of numbers, we can enter the result in our own words as well. For this, we need to use the IF condition.

    Search For Text Excel Example 1-5

So, in the IF condition, I have supplied the result as “Text Found” if the value “best” found, or else I have supplied the result to show as “Not Found.”

But here we have a problem, even though I have supplied the result as “Not Found,” if the text was not found still we are getting the error value as #VALUE!.

So, nobody wants to have an error value in their excel sheet. To overcome this error value, we need to enclose the formula with the ISNUMERIC function.

Search For Text Excel Example 1-6

ISNUMERIC function evaluates whether the FIND function returns the number or not. If the FIND function returns the number, then it will supply TRUE to IF condition or else FALSE condition. Based on the result supplied by the ISNUMERIC function, the IF condition will return the result accordingly.

We can also use the IFERROR function in excelIFERROR Function In ExcelWhen an error occurs in any formula or argument, the IFERROR excel function is used to display the result. This function can be used in conjunction with other functions to alert the user of any errors in the formula.read more to deal with error values instead of ISNUMERIC. The below formula will also return “not Found” if the error value returned by the FIND function.

Search For Text Excel Example 1-7

Alternatives to FIND Function

Alternative #1 – Excel Search Function

Instead of the FIND function, we can also use the SEARCH function in excelSEARCH Function In ExcelSearch function gives the position of a substring in a given string when we give a parameter of the position to search from. As a result, this formula requires three arguments. The first is the substring, the second is the string itself, and the last is the position to start the search.read more to search the particular text in the string. The syntax of the SEARCH function is the same as the FIND function.

Alternative to FIND Function 1

Supply the find text as “Best.”

Alternative to FIND Function 1-1

Within Text is our cell reference.

Alternative to FIND Function 1-2

Even the SEARCH function returns an error value as #VALUE! if the finding text “best” is not found. As we have seen above, we need to enclose the formula with either ISNUMERIC or IFERROR function.

Alternative #2 – Excel Countif Function

Another way of searching for a particular text is by using the COUNTIF function. This function works without any error.

Alternative to FIND Function 1-3

In the range, the argument selects the cell reference.

Alternative to FIND Function 1-4

In the criteria column, we need to use a wildcard in excelWildcard In ExcelIn Excel, wildcards are the three special characters asterisk, question mark, and tilde. Asterisk denotes multiple characters, a question mark denotes a single character, and a tilde denotes the identification of a wild card character.read more because we are just finding the part of the string value, so enclose the word “best” with an asterisk (*) wildcard.

Alternative to FIND Function 1-5

This formula will return the count of the word “best” in the selected cell value. Since we have only one “best” value, we will get only 1 as the count.

Alternative to FIND Function 1-6

Now we can apply only the IF condition to get the result without any error.

Alternative to FIND Function 1-7

Highlight the Cell which has Particular Text Value

If you are not a fan of formulas, then you can highlight the cell that has a particular word. To highlight the cell which has the word “best,” we need to use conditional formatting in excel.

For this first, select the data cells and click on Conditional Formatting > New Rule.

Alternative to FIND Function 2

Unser new Rule select “Format Only Cells that contain.”

Alternative to FIND Function 2-1

From the first drop-down, select “Specific Text.”

Alternative to FIND Function 2-2

In the formula, section enters the text that we are searching for in double-quotes with the equal sign. =”best.”

Alternative to FIND Function 2-3

Then click on FORMAT and choose the formatting style.

Alternative to FIND Function 2-4

Click on OK. It will highlight all the cells which have the word “best.”

Alternative to FIND Function 2-5

Like this using various techniques, we can search the particular text in excel.

This has been a guide to Search For Text in Excel. Here we discuss the top three methods that can search the cell value for a specific text and arrive at the result along with practical examples and a downloadable excel template. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –

  • 35+ Courses
  • 120+ Hours
  • Full Lifetime Access
  • Certificate of Completion
LEARN MORE >>