by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 7, 2018)
Arlene often uses Ctrl+F to locate records in her worksheet so she can modify them. When the Find and Replace dialog box opens, the text in the Find What box is highlighted, which is very helpful; it allows her to immediately overtype what was there before. Sometimes, however, the text in the Find What box is not highlighted, and instead the insertion point is at the beginning of the box's contents. When Arlene starts typing, her text is added to what was in the box before.
This inconsistency is understandably frustrating to Arlene. She would find it most helpful if the contents of the Find What box were always highlighted and that she could count on that all the time, but she cannot. So, she wonders if there is some setting she should check to ensure that Excel is consistent when displaying the Find and Replace dialog box.
There is no setting within Excel that controls whether the Find What text is selected or the insertion point is at the beginning of the Find What box. In fact, in our testing, we could not replicate this issue—every time we used Ctrl+F to display the Find and Replace dialog box, the Find What text was always highlighted. In addition, the text was highlighted every time we left the Find What box (by pressing Tab or by clicking on a different control in the Find and Replace dialog box) and then came back to the Find What box.
This would lead one to question if there might be some macro in play on Arlene's system that is intercepting the Ctrl+F shortcut key or, perhaps, some third-party program that is affecting how Find in Replace operates. If so, then setting Ctrl+F back to its normal operation should fix the problem.
Be that as it may, there is a relatively simple fix that can help ensure the Find What text is selected at all times. Immediately after press Ctrl+F to display the Find and Replace dialog box, press Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow. This ensures that everything in the Find What box is selected, and if something was previously selected, that selection is not disturbed. At this point, any additional typing you do will overwrite whatever was in the Find What box.
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