Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Performing Inexact Searches
Performing Inexact Searches
If you have a large worksheet with lots of data, locating what you’re looking for can be difficult.
The Excel Find and Replace dialog box is a useful tool for locating information, and it has a few
features that many users overlook.
Access the Find and Replace dialog box by choosing Home
Find & Select
Find (or
pressing Ctrl+F). If you’re replacing information, you can use Home
Find & Select
Replace (or Ctrl+H). The only difference is which of the two tabs is displayed in the dialog box.
Figure 21-1 shows the Find and Replace dialog box after clicking the Options button, which
expands the dialog box to show additional options.
Figure 21-1: The Find and Replace dialog box, with the Find tab selected.
In many cases, you want to locate “approximate” text. For example, you may be trying to find
data for a customer named Stephen R. Rosencrantz. You can, of course, search for the exact text:
Stephen R. Rosencrantz. However, there’s a reasonably good chance that the search will fail. The
name may have been entered differently, as Steve Rosencrantz or S.R. Rosencrantz, for example.
It may have even been misspelled as Rosentcrantz.
The most efficient search for this name is to use a wildcard character and search for st*rosen*
and then click the Find All button. In addition to reducing the amount of text that you enter, this
search is practically guaranteed to locate the customer, if the record is in your worksheet. The
search may also find some records that you aren’t looking for, but that’s better than not finding
The Find and Replace dialog box supports two wildcard characters:
h ? matches any single character.
h * matches any number of characters.
Wildcard characters also work with values. For example, searching for 3* locates all cells that
contain a value that begins with 3. Searching for 1?9 locates all three-digit entries that begin
with 1 and end with 9.
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