Cell Basics

In Excel cell function and references are helpful to better understand Excel spreadsheets. Use Excel cell reference functions as well.

Find and Replace

When working with a lot of data in Excel, it can be difficult and time consuming to locate specific information. You can easily search your workbook using the Find feature, which also allows you to modify content using the Replace feature.

To find content:

In our example, we'll use the Find command to locate a specific name in a long list of employees.

  1. From the Home tab, click the Find and Select command, then select Find... from the drop-down menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Find command
  2. The Find and Replace dialog box will appear. Enter the content you want to find. In our example, we'll type the employee's name.
  3. Click Find Next. If the content is found, the cell containing that content will be selected.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Find Next
  4. Click Find Next to find further instances or Find All to see every instance of the search term.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Find All
  5. When you are finished, click Close to exit the Find and Replace dialog box.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Closing the Find and Replace dialog box

You can also access the Find command by pressing Ctrl+F on your keyboard.

Click Options to see advanced search criteria in the Find and Replace dialog box.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Options

To replace cell content:

At times, you may discover that you've repeatedly made a mistake throughout your workbook (such as misspelling someone's name), or that you need to exchange a particular word or phrase for another. You can use Excel's Find and Replace feature to make quick revisions. In our example, we'll use Find and Replace to correct a list of email addresses.

  1. From the Home tab, click the Find and Select command, then select Replace... from the drop-down menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Replace command
  2. The Find and Replace dialog box will appear. Type the text you want to find in the Find what: field.
  3. Type the text you want to replace it with in the Replace with: field, then click Find Next.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Find Next
  4. If the content is found, the cell containing that content will be selected.
  5. Review the text to make sure you want to replace it.
  6. If you want to replace it, select one of the replace options:
    • Replace will replace individual instances.
    • Replace All will replace every instance of the text throughout the workbook. In our example, we'll choose this option to save time.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Replacing the highlighted text
  7. A dialog box will appear, confirming the number of replacements made. Click OK to continue.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking OK
  8. The selected cell content will be replaced.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The replaced content
  9. When you are finished, click Close to exit the Find and Replace dialog box.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Closing the Find and Replace dialog box