Microsoft Excel Tips: Find and Replace
Navigating your Microsoft Excel worksheets and spreadsheets can be challenging, especially since you may have thousands of entries in your spreadsheet. Finding the right area is critical to allowing you to edit, check data, and more.
Fortunately, Excel comes equipped with the option you need to make it much easier to find those vital items or even edit large quantities of them very quickly: the Find and Replace features. Furthermore, there are features in the Find and Replace commands that can help make it much easier.
The Find Command
There are two ways to use the Find command in Excel. First, you can use Ctrl + F to easily bring up the “find” menu. If you prefer, however, you can go to the home tab, then go down to “find.”
Specify what you’re looking for: usually a specific set of words.
Want to add more power? Open up the “options” menu on the Find command. You might, for example, want to:
- Search the entire workbook
- Limit to specific cells
- Note whether you want to include case in the match
- Determine whether you want to look for cells that contain only the information you’ve entered, or if you want to include longer entries that happen to include the keyword
You can search through the entire document one entry at a time by using the “Find Next” option, or you can use the “Find All” option to highlight all the matches for that entry at the same time. This is particularly useful if you choose to use the Find and Replace option. Sometimes, the “Find All” option can provide you with information that you did not even recognize was in the worksheet or workbook.
The “Find All” option will give you a list of all the instances in which that specific set of characters appears, according to the terms you have used for your search, so you can easily navigate straight to the one you want to check.
The Replace Command
The Replace command is available in the same dialogue box. You can find it in the Home tab under Find and Select, or you can use Ctrl + H as a keyboard shortcut. Replace allows you to identify the instances of a particular set of characters and put in something else instead, whether you want to change the data directly or make changes to case or formatting.
When you use the Replace command, you may want to use the “Find All” option first and take a look at the options that pull up so that you do not inadvertently replace something you do not mean to. For example, if you do not match the whole cell contents, you could accidentally end up replacing part of a word or part of a phrase.
“Replace All” will allow you to replace every instance of a specific keyword or set of characters. It can make it easier for you to quickly fix formatting, find specific content that you’ve added and add a type of formatting to it. Select the format dialogue box, then select the changes you want to make: bolding, italicizing, changing the color, or highlighting, for example. This simple strategy can help you pop out information that you might want to look at again and get a better feel for exactly where it is in the document.
Using the Find and Replace features in Microsoft Excel can help save you time and make it easier for you to complete your regular job duties. If you have more questions about how to use Excel and the suite of Microsoft products to full advantage, we can help. Contact us today for more advice about using Excel and the other Microsoft line of products as part of your daily job tasks.