Find and Replace in Excel

How to use the Excel Find and Replace functions

How to Search in Excel

Find and Replace in Excel allows you to quickly search all cells and formulas in a spreadsheet for all instances that match your search criteria. This guide will cover how to search in Excel and use find and replace in Excel.

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

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

There are two ways to access the Excel 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 Excel 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 that all of the formulas link to.  This will save you the pain of individually editing each cell with that formula, and guarantee that 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: Search in Excel 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

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide on how to search in Excel and how to find and replace in Excel.

If you want to master Excel please check out all CFI’s Excel Resources to learn all the most important formulas, functions, and shortcuts.

Additional guides and resources you may find useful include:

• Excel formulas and functions
• Excel shortcuts
• Go To Special
• Index Match Match

Free Excel Tutorial

To master the art of Excel, check out CFI’s FREE Excel Crash Course, which teaches you how to become an Excel power user.  Learn the most important formulas, functions, and shortcuts to become confident in your financial analysis.

Launch CFI’s Free Excel Course now to take your career to the next level and move up the ladder!