Replacing Tildes at the Beginning of a Cell

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 9, 2016)


Karen has a large number of cells that have a tilde character (~) at the beginning of the cells. She would like to change the tilde to a different character (such as an @ sign), but only if the tilde is at the beginning of the cell. She's not sure how to perform this task using Find and Replace.

Excel's Find and Replace would be a good choice if you wanted to replace all tildes in your text. In that case, you would simply search for ~~ (note that this is two tildes in a row) and replace with @. However, since you want to replace just a tilde appearing in the first character position, Find and Replace won't do it for you. There are two ways you can approach the problem.

The first method is to use a formula to remove the tilde. There are many variations on such a formula, with the following being one example:

=IF(LEFT(A1,1)="~","@" & MID(A1,2,LEN(A1)),A1)

You can copy the formula down as many cells as you need, then copy the results and use Paste Special to paste the values back into the original column.

The other option is to use a macro to do the replacement. The following is a good example of a short macro to do the trick:

Sub ReplaceTilde()
    Dim c As Range
    For Each c In Selection
        If Left(c, 1) = "~" Then
            c.Value = "@" & Right(c, Len(c) - 1)
        End If
End Sub

To use the macro, simply select the cells you want to change and then run it. Each cell in the selection is evaluated and, if appropriate, modified.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13419) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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 six more than 8?

2016-01-11 09:42:11


My solution would be to filter based on cells beginning with the tilde and then run the Find and Replace on those specific cells.

2016-01-09 08:14:44


Thank you for your answer about the "tilde"! It will be a huge help.

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