How to Find and Replace Data in Excel

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  • 0:01 Find & Select Tool
  • 0:30 Finding Information
  • 2:05 Find and Replace
  • 3:12 Using the Find Options
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

If you need to find a specific piece of information in a spreadsheet full of data, the search feature is mighty powerful. This lesson will guide you through how to use the Find and Find & Replace commands.

Find & Select Tool

One very powerful tool and option I use quite often is the Find & Select tool. You can quickly look for specific data and also choose to replace that data with something else.

What makes the Find & Select tool so powerful is that you can be very specific about where to look and exactly what to look for. This lesson will review and explain some of the features of the tool. We will take a look at the steps to performing a find, as well as a find and replace.

Finding Information

The best way to explain how the feature works is to start with an example worksheet. Imagine we have a spreadsheet of information that contains a list of sellers and their quarterly sales results for the year. There is a bit of information, including the results for each quarter and a year-end total.

You are a sales manager for one location, but the results are for all the sellers in the company, which has many locations. Your two sellers are in Billings, Montana: Liam Neeson and Burt Reynolds. Rather than scroll through the list to check their results, we can use the Find command to go directly to their record. Let's look at the steps.

  1. Go to the Home menu in the ribbon.
  2. Look in the Editing group of commands.
  3. Click on Find & Select and the drop-down menu will appear.
  4. Click on Find and notice that the Find & Replace window opens.
  5. Type the criteria for the search in the Find what box. In our example, we'll type Liam.
  6. Click on Find Next.

Excel immediately takes you to the first record it finds that is a match to your criteria and highlights the record. At this point, you can close the window or click Find Next to search for another record that matches. At any point, you can change the criteria and search for other information or a different record.

Find and Replace

Excel has a feature that lets you not only find text, but quickly replace it with other text. Let's go back to our example sellers and their quarterly results. One of the company branches is located in Boulder, Colorado. You know that the branch moved to Denver a couple of months ago, and you would like to change all instances of Boulder to Denver.

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