Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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: Where Is that Text?.

Where Is that Text?

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 1, 2020)

5

Jay needs to determine the cell in which a particular text value occurs. He knows he can use Excel's Find and Replace capabilities to manually determine the address of cells containing a text value, but he is looking for a formula to determine the address of the cells. He wonders if there is a way to search for piece of text within a range and have Excel return the address of the cell in which the text is found.

There are two things you can try. First, if you are looking for an exact match for cell contents, then you can use a formula. The basic formula is this:

=ADDRESS(MATCH(C2,A:A,0),1)

In this example, cell C2 contains the value you are looking for and column A is the range of cells being searched. The formula returns a result regardless of the capitalization of C2 or the values in column A. Thus, if C2 contains "apple", then the formula will match positively to cells that contain "apple," "Apple," or "APPLE." Indeed, any mix of capitalization will match.

This formula will not return an address for a cell that contains what you are searching for amidst other text. So if you are searching for "apple" (cell C2), it won't return the address of a cell that contains the phrase "apple crisp." You can modify this behavior, a bit, by adding wild card characters to the search cell. For instance, if you search for "*apple*" then the formula returns the address of a cell that contains "apple", even if it is preceded or followed by other characters.

It should be pointed out that this formula only returns the address of the first cell in the range which meets the criteria. If you actually want the addresses of all cells that meet the criteria, then you'll need to rely on a macro. The following is a good example:

Function FindMe(x As Range, y As String) As String
    Dim r As Range
    Dim sResults As String
    Dim sSearch As String

    Application.Volatile
    sSearch = LCase(y)
    For Each r In x
        If InStr(1, LCase(CStr(r.Value)), sSearch) > 0 Then
            sResults = sResults & r.Address & ", "
        End If
    Next r
    If Len(sResults) > 2 Then
        FindMe = Left(sResults, Len(sResults) - 2)
    Else
        FindMe = ""
    End If
End Function

You use the function by simply providing the range you want to search along with what you want to search for:

=FindMe(A:A, "apple")

If you use a large range (as in this example—all of column A), then don't be surprised if the function takes a noticeable amount of time to return a result. This makes sense, as it has to search through every cell in the range, regardless of whether there is anything in the cell or not.

You also don't need to use any wildcards with this function; it assumes that a match occurs if what you are looking for is located anywhere within the cell. It also doesn't pay attention to the capitalization of what you are looking for or the capitalization of anything in the search range.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10083) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Where Is that Text?.

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 two less than 5?

2020-02-06 10:10:42

Gary

That is great Peter- thanks a lot!!

Gary


2020-02-05 14:55:11

Peter Atherton

Gary,
If you insert the second line above the first the function will return a zero length string (Not a Blank)

sSearch = LCase(y)
If Len(y) = 0 Then Exit Function

Peter


2020-02-05 10:20:25

Gary

Thank you Peter! That worked. I would definitely add this bit of information to the instructions above. Also, if the cell containing the text I want to find is blank, it just returns the addresses of every cell in the range. It would better if the function gave you an option for an alternate value if the cell is blank.

Gary


2020-02-04 13:58:37

Peter Atherton

Gary,
You need to include the full path to the Personal workbook. Click the Function Insert button at the left of the formula Bar and drill down to User Defined category and insert the function from there and Excel will include the full path for you.


2020-02-03 18:51:51

Gary

I tried adding this code to a module in my Personal workbook, however, when I attempt to use the function I get a #NAME? error. What might be the problem?


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