**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: Finding the Nth Occurrence of a Character.

Barry often finds himself wanting to identify the Nth occurrence of a character within a text string. He knows he can use the SEARCH and FIND worksheet functions for finding an initial occurrence, but is unsure how to find, say, the 3rd occurrence of the letter "B" within a text string.

Actually, the SEARCH function could be used to find the desired occurrence, in the following manner:

=SEARCHB("b",G20,(SEARCHB("b",G20,(SEARCHB("b",G20,1)+1))+1))

Notice how the SEARCHB function is used in a nested manner. The formula specifies what is being searched for (the letter "b") and the number of nesting levels indicates which occurrence within the cell you want to find. The formula returns the position of the desired character within the cell.

The problem with such a formula, of course, is that it is difficult to maintain and can quickly get unusable if you want to find, say, the seventh occurrence.

A more flexible formula would be the following:

=FIND(CHAR(1),SUBSTITUTE(A1,"B",CHAR(1),3))

This formula examines the value in A1. It substitutes the CHAR(1) code for the third occurrence of "B" within the cell. The FIND function then looks within the resulting string for the position where CHAR(1) occurs. If the desired occurrence does not exist, then the formula returns a #VALUE error.

If you prefer, you could create a user-defined function that will look for the Nth position of a character. The following is a very simple macro that takes three arguments: the string to be searched, the text to match, and the position desired.

Function FindN(sFindWhat As String, _ sInputString As String, N As Integer) As Integer Dim J As Integer FindN = 0 For J = 1 To N FindN = InStr(FindN + 1, sInputString, sFindWhat) If FindN = 0 Then Exit For Next End Function

The function is case sensitive in what it searches for, and it returns the position within the specified string at which the sFindWhat value occurs. If there is no occurrence at the specified instance, then the function returns a 0. The following shows how the function can be used in a worksheet:

=FindN("b",C15,3)

*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.

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This tip (10567) 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: **Finding the Nth Occurrence of a Character**.

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2019-10-07 12:30:40

Roy

Lord son, you see the various things people are asking in this one as variants of the simple idea and you still ask that question?

It is because people go off on whatever tangents based on existing work. Even if that is their own start on a problem, not someone else's spreadsheet which their boss wants no substantive changes to the logic in. Everything in life pretty much does that which is why aliens did NOT have to come around and give us all our scientific advances. We can track most all of them for the work they came out of. And see why they did not happen earlier: they couldn't be used then, by and large, with what already existed. So the spreadsheet. Even when an idea could be done without by taking a different approach, one often is somehow wed to an approach that needs it. Or a variant.

An explicit answer to this one? I, for instance, would like to use the idea to get the "fourth to the last" and "third to the last" occurrence of a character by finding how many there are altogether, then subracting 3 and 2, and finally doing something like this looking for whatever number characters those two calculations came up with. Boss doesn't like talk about our work, but perhaps someone has addresses and could do exactly that to find the 2nd and last occurrences of " " to isolate city and zip code. Or whatever. Point is, able to imagine it yourself. or not, these things are actually useful to folks.

Not the first time I've seen this question asked in here. For all you askers (let's be honest: "asker" singular) get off. Take a hike. Sneer at us non-programmers as you wish. But do it to our faces someday. That I'd like to participate in.

2018-09-19 13:13:03

Ryn

2018-09-19 08:34:23

Peg Molter

Thanks.

2016-12-02 14:57:20

Luc

Could I maybe connect Excel to gmail, imort the mail and use a variation of this to find messages which contain e.g. the word 'Pega' more than three times?

2016-11-30 02:56:58

Hai Mai

Thank for your post. It saves my time.

2016-04-13 05:15:35

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Shakir,

Try the following suggested formula:

(see Figure 1 below)

--------------------------

Michael (Micky) Avidan

“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator

“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2016)

ISRAEL

**Figure 1.** REPEAT 3 FIRST CHARACTERS 8 TIMES

2016-04-13 03:46:07

shakir babu

How to repeat left 3 characters of the name(SHAKIR) 8 times in Ms excel

2016-04-02 06:08:18

Rick Rothstein

Function FindN(sFindWhat As String, sInputString As String, N As Long) As Long

FindN = InStr(Replace(sInputString, sFindWhat, " ", 1, N - 1), sFindWhat)

End Function

2016-02-25 05:17:56

This may interest you:

http://www.mrexcel.com/forum/excel-questions/440487-extract-text-number-column-help.html

2016-02-24 08:45:20

YANAL ALKURDI

how can i extract the number between the "#" and the "-" as marked in the red below and for several times

"COST OF XO Ticket(s) # [29]

{ RJ } -- Ticket(s) # 5125838371064 - Pax = REBEKKA ROGGLI

- Ticket(s) # 5125838371065 - Pax = CHRISTOPH RIGGOLI

- Ticket(s) # 5125838371066 - Pax = NAEL ROGGLI CHD

- Ticket(s) # 5125838371067 - Pax = ELA ROGGLI CHD

- Ticket(s) # 5125838371068 - Pax = ALYA ROGGLI INF

- Ticket(s) # 5125838371069 - Pax = ANNA WINKLER

- Route = AMM/SSH/AMM

- Class ="

and if there is a macro to be used.

Thank you, for all your help and hope to fear from you soon.

2015-07-08 09:52:18

Michael (Micky) Avidan

The original task was to find the position of the Nth occurrence of a character in a string AND NOT to find the position of the LAST occurrence.

--------------------------

Michael (Micky) Avidan

“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator

“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2016)

ISRAEL

2015-07-08 01:19:13

Gokulraj

Function LastpositionOfChar(strVal As String, strChar As String)

LongLastpositionOfChar = InStrRev(strVal, strChar)

End Function

2015-06-18 10:58:46

Michael (Micky) Avidan

Try the hereunder User Defined Function (UDF):

---------------------------------------

Function Extruct_Numbers_From_Within_Brackets(Rng As Range)

CR = 1

While CR < Len(Rng)

F1 = Application.Find("[", Rng, CR) + 1

F2 = Application.Find("]", Rng, F1) - 1

For N = F1 To F2

NM = NM + Mid(Rng, N, 1)

Next

NM = NM + ";"

CR = F2 + 1

Wend

Extruct_Numbers_From_Within_Brackets = Left(NM, Len(NM) - 1)

End Function

-----------------------

Michael (Micky) Avidan

“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator

“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)

ISRAEL

2015-06-17 14:20:02

M4.CTC.VA03.Verify Sales Documents.v2 [14294], MSUP.CTC.VA03.Verify Sales Documents.v2 [14957], MSUP.CTC.VA03.Verify Sales Documents.v2 [15019], MSUP.CTC.VA03.Verify Sales Documents.v3 [15156]

I would like to have a value in Cell B as: 14294;14957;15019;15156

Basically, it should look for a text "[" and then return all characters after untill reaches "]".

Please help.

2015-02-10 23:02:21

pmor1945

Copy the surrounding text or complete tip to Notepad, and the hidden text will be displayed.

2015-02-10 04:48:40

[code]

Dim Ans As Integer

Ans = FindN("b", Range("C15"), 3)

MsgBox Ans

[/code]

2015-02-09 09:23:17

wulflyng

On my system, an advertisement covers part of the first formula.

2015-02-09 04:32:09

To make the search non-case sensitive, just add at the top of your VBA Module:

Option Compare Text

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