Excel Find Function

Below is an overview of how to use the Excel Find and Replace functions in financial analysis spreadsheets.

What is the Find function in Excel?

The Find function in Excel allows you to quickly search all cells and formulas for all instances that match your search criteria.

Examples of what you might use the Excel Find function to search for:

  • All cells that contain the number “10”
  • All formulas that contain reference to cell “B7”
  • All formulas with the SUM function

There are two ways to access the Find function:

  • Press Ctrl + F
  • On the Home ribbon under “Find and Select” choose “Find”

To see a video tutorial of Go To Special check out our free Excel Crash Course.

Why use the Find function?

There are many good reasons to use the Find function when performing financial modeling in Excel.

The main reason is to use it in conjunction with the Replace function, to quickly edit many cells and/or formulas at once.

For example, if you have hundreds of cells with formulas that link to a specific cell, you may want to use find and replace to change that one cell all of the formulas link to.  This will save you the pain of individually editing each cell with that formula, and guarantee you don’t miss any.

For more time saving tips, here is a list of all Excel shortcuts to speed up your modeling.

Example of Find and Replace in Excel

Below is an example of how to use Find and Replace to change the SUM formulas in the below table to all become MEDIAN formulas.

Part 1: Find a single data point

  1. Press Ctrl + F
  2. Type “Sarah”
  3. Click Find Next

Part 2: Find all instances of something

  1. Press Ctrl + F
  2. Type “Average”
  3. Click Find All

Part 3: Replace all instances of something

  1. Press Ctrl + F
  2. Click the “Replace” Tab to the top
  3. Type “Average” in Find
  4. Type “Median” in Replace
  5. Click Replace All
  6. Congratulations, all your SUM formulas are now MEDIAN formulas!

More Excel lessons

Excel formulas and functions

Excel shortcuts

Go To Special

Index Match Match

Find and replace