How to Search an Excel Spreadsheet

By Wallace Wang

Rather than search for a specific cell in Excel 2019, you may want to search for a label or number in a spreadsheet. Excel lets you search for the following:

  • Specific text or numbers
  • All cells that contain formulas
  • All cells that contain conditional formatting

How to perform a text search in Excel 2019

You can search for a specific label or number anywhere in your spreadsheet. To search for text or numbers, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Home tab.
  2. Click the Find & Select icon in the Editing group.

    A pull-down menu appears.

  3. Click Find.

    The Find and Replace dialog box appears.

    find and replace Office 2019
    If you click the Replace tab, you can define the text or number to find and new text or numbers to replace it.

    If you click the Replace tab, you can define the text or number to find and new text or numbers to replace it.

  4. Click in the Find What text box and type the text or number you want to find.

    If you click the Options button, the Find and Replace dialog box expands to provide additional options for searching, such as searching in the displayed sheet or the entire workbook.

  5. Click one of the following:
    • Find Next: Finds and selects the first cell, starting from the currently selected cell that contains the text you typed in Step 4.
    • Find All: Finds and lists all cells that contain the text you typed in Step 4.
      Find All Office 2019
      The Find All button names all the cells that contain the text or number you want to find.
  6. Click Close to make the Find and Replace dialog box go away.

How to search for Excel formulas

Because formulas display numbers in a cell, it can be difficult to know which cells contain numbers and which cells contain formulas. To help you find which cells contain formulas, Excel gives you two choices:

  • Display formulas in your cells (instead of numbers).
  • Highlight the cells that contain formulas.

To display (or hide) formulas in a spreadsheet, you have two options:

  • Press Ctrl+` (an accent grave character, which appears on the same key as the ~ sign, often to the left of the number 1 key near the top of a keyboard).
  • Click the Formulas tab, and then click Show Formulas in the Formula Auditing group.

This image shows what a spreadsheet looks like when formulas appear inside cells.

search Excel formulas
By displaying formulas in cells, you can identify which cells display calculations.

 

To highlight all cells that contain formulas, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Home tab.
  2. Click the Find & Select icon in the Editing group.

    A pull-down menu appears.

  3. Click Formulas.

    Excel highlights all the cells that contain formulas.