Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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: Limiting Searching to a Column.

Limiting Searching to a Column

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 12, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


As your worksheets start to contain more and more data, you'll find yourself often searching for information in the collected data. Most people do this by pressing Ctrl+F to display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. From here you can do a search of the entire worksheet.

If you want to limit your search, however, there is one key thing you need to do: Select the range you want to search before pressing Ctrl+F. For instance, if you want to limit your search to a specific column of the worksheet, select that column before displaying the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. When the search is actually performed, only those cells in the selected range are included in the search; everything else is ignored.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10004) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Limiting Searching to a Column.

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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