Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: A Fast Find-Next.

A Fast Find-Next

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 10, 2017)


You already know how to find information in an Excel worksheet by using the searching features built into the program. Using the Find tool (press Ctrl+F) you can search for just about anything in your worksheet. I find myself using Find quite often in the course of editing a worksheet, particularly if the worksheet is quite large.

There is one thing about Find that bothers me, however. I hate having the Find and Replace dialog box block part of my worksheet as I am stepping through occurrences of a search string. Clicking on Find Next works great, but that bothersome dialog box is still blocking my view.

To overcome this, I generally do the following when I am searching for something:

  1. Press Ctrl+F as normal, specifying what I want to search for and then looking for the first occurrence.
  2. When the first occurrence is displayed, I press the Esc key (or click on Cancel). The Find and Replace dialog box disappears.
  3. To find the next occurrence, I press Shift+F4.

This procedure works the same as clicking Find Next repeatedly, and it is just as fast, but it gets rid of the annoying Find dialog box.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3426) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: A Fast Find-Next.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is five less than 8?

2017-07-10 14:27:44


Thanks Allen, the box in the way has annoyed me too. Great tip!

2017-07-10 09:11:24


I do what Dennis does, since I'm usually looking for several items and the Find All list conveniently shows them all, without causing a blocking problem.

2017-07-10 06:27:46

JD Murphy

To find the previous occurrence, I press Shift+Ctrl+F4.

2013-05-28 08:08:46

Joe Marten

I also like to use the Find All button on the F&R dialog. I often use the Control +H to display the dialog. But if you want to display the all directly you can use
Alt + HFDRI.
Looks like a lot letters but here is how i can remember Alt + H for the home ribbon
FDR like the President's initials and then finally the I

2013-05-27 14:36:19


If you want to see all the "found" items more concisely, you can choose the Find All button in the F&R dialog rather than the Find button. Excel will display a list of all cells with the search term and each cell's value. So you might be able to find what you want just by visually skimming the list. Alternatively you can select items from the list to have Excel go to the cell. After selecting one item try pressing the down-arrow to go to the next item. Finally, the F&R dialog has an Options button to let you expand the search to the whole workbook.

2013-05-26 04:36:05


I'd never thought of that, great tip.

I have another issue regarding find & replace. If I use F&R the for the first time, the cursor starts in the Find box, I enter what I want to find, press tab, enter what I want to replace it with.

But when I press CtrlH the next time, the cursor again starts in the Replace box. If I'm starting a new F&R, this is irritating, as I have to then click in the Find box before I start. Is there a way that I can get the cursor to always start in the Find box, rather than Replace?

The one option I can think of is always press CtrlF, enter the new Find data, press CtrlH, and enter the replace data. There has to be an improvement on this.

2013-05-25 07:24:24


This is an excellent tip, thanks Allen.

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