Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Text Functions
How to find special characters
Don’t overlook the handy Symbol dialog box (which appears when you choose Insert➜
Symbols➜Symbol). This dialog box makes it easy to insert special characters (including Unicode
characters) into cells. For example, you might (for some strange reason) want to include a
smiley face character in your spreadsheet. Access Excel’s Symbol dialog box and select the
Wingdings font (see the accompanying figure). Examine the characters, locate the smiley face,
click Insert, and then click Cancel. You’ll also find out that this character has a code of 74.
Determining whether two strings are identical
You can set up a simple logical formula to determine whether two cells contain the same entry.
For example, use this formula to determine whether cell A1 has the same contents as cell A2:
=A1=A2
Excel acts a bit lax in its comparisons when text is involved. Consider the case in which A1
contains the word January (initial capitalization), and A2 contains JANUARY (all uppercase). You’ll
find that the previous formula returns TRUE even though the contents of the two cells are not
really the same. In other words, the comparison is not case sensitive.
In many cases, you don’t need to worry about the case of the text. However, if you need to make
an exact, case-sensitive comparison, you can use Excel’s EXACT function. The formula that
follows returns TRUE only if cells A1 and A2 contain exactly the same entry:
=EXACT(A1,A2)
 
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