Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Searching a Workbook by Default.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 3, 2019)
Take a moment and display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. The easiest way to do this is to press Ctrl+F. When the dialog box is first displayed (See Figure 1.) Excel makes certain assumptions about what exactly you want to search. What you want to search is dictated by the setting of the Within drop-down list. (You may need to click the Options button to see the Within drop-down list.)
Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
When you first display the dialog box, Within is set to Sheet, by default. This setting is true regardless of whether you select one worksheet or multiple worksheets prior to displaying the dialog box.
If you want the Within drop-down list to default to Workbook (instead of Sheet), there is no way to specify this in Excel. You can take some solace in the fact that the setting of the Within drop-down list is persistent for the current session with Excel. In other words, if you set it to Workbook, complete your search, and later do another search, then the Within setting is persistent; it is still set to Workbook.
It is interesting that, at first blush, there appears to be no way tackle this issue using a macro. This is because Excel doesn't provide a way for a macro to easily display and modify the settings in the Find and Replace dialog box. Many dialog boxes can be displayed using the Dialogs collection, but not the Find and Replace. Instead, VBA allows you to display an older version of the Find dialog box, using this code:
Sub ShowFind1() Application.Dialogs(xlDialogFormulaFind).Show End Sub
Unfortunately, this version of the Find dialog box does not have a control that allows you to specify the scope of the search, as can be done with the Within drop-down list in the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
There is a way to display the correct Find and Replace dialog box, but it isn't by using the Dialogs collection. Instead you need to pull up the dialog box using the CommandBars collection, which essentially displays the dialog box using a menu command. (Pretty ironic if you think about it—Excel no longer has menus, but you can still access the CommandBars collection to display dialog boxes using menus.) Here's how to do it:
Sub ShowFind2() ActiveSheet.Cells.Find What:="", LookAt:=xlWhole Application.CommandBars("Worksheet Menu Bar").FindControl( _ ID:=1849, recursive:=True).Execute End Sub
The Find method allows you to set the different parameters in the Find and Replace dialog, and then the CommandBars object is accessed to actually display the dialog box.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10348) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Searching a Workbook by Default.
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