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 Next 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.
Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!
Do you need to find cells that are formatted with a particular color? How you accomplish this task depends on your ...Discover More
Wildcard characters can be used within the Find and Replace tool, but what if you want to actually search for those ...Discover More
If you need to replace information that may appear in cells, comments, and text boxes, your best bet is to use a macro. ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.