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Basic Excel Training: Finding Specific Data

There is nothing worse than having volumes of data and needing to find specific information within it. Fortunately, you are able to search for text and values easily; and even replace them if necessary. This valuable tool saves millions the frustration of manually searching for data. The biggest advantage of all is the fact that you have a variety of search options. This Excel tutorial is going to teach you exactly how to search for data using the Find feature.

The first thing we need to do is access the Find and Replace dialog box. You can press Ctrl and F simultaneously on your keyboard. Alternatively, in the Home tab of your Excel toolbar; go to the Editing box. There are five command icons available there; click on the arrow beneath Find & Select. When you locate it, click on Find…

  • The Find and Replace Dialog Box

    A new window will have appeared that has two tabs inside of it. You will automatically be taken to the Find tab:

    If you click on Options, you will have more fields available for your search. Type what you are looking for in the Find What section. If there is a character that you are unsure about, then replace it with a ? Use a * for multiple unknown characters.

    If you wish to use a known format to help in the search, then click on the arrow next to Format. You will be able to choose a specific format from the Find Format dialog box, or you will be able to click on a cell that contains the same format you are looking for:

    • Within

      Clicking on the arrow next to Within will give you the choice of searching in the current worksheet or throughout the workbook.

    • Search

      This option gives you the opportunity of first searching by either rows or columns.

    • Look In

      Your Look In option will enable you to search in formulas, values or comments for the data you require.

    • Match Case

      If you want your search to be case-specific, then you will need to put a tick in this box to search for matching cases.

    • Match Entire Cell Contents

      Checking this box will ensure that all search results only list those that match your criteria exactly.

Once you have refined your search accordingly, click on either Find All or Find Next at the bottom of the Find and Replace dialog box. Selecting Find All will list the results underneath the window. Find Next will take you to the results one by one.

Now you are able to perform a basic Find task that will allow you to quickly search for the data you need. You are also able to replace that specific data throughout your spreadsheet, if required. There are also advanced search options available that we discuss in another article.

No one should ever have to suffer the manual task of searching through masses of data. This is why we have written this article for you; on recommendation by our Excel training course students throughout South Florida. To learn Excel easily and discover the benefits of having professional spreadsheets that do your work for you, feel free to watch our Excel video tutorials.

Hector Garcia CPA and QuickBooks/Excel Trainer

Hector Garcia CPA and QuickBooks/Excel Trainer

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