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How to Search in Google Sheets

We show you how to search for a word in Google Docs and to use find and replace if you want to change specific reappearing words easily.

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Sheets has emerged as a leading online spreadsheet application, seamlessly blending functionality with user-friendliness. Whether you're an expert in data analytics or someone simply organizing personal records, the ability to efficiently navigate and search within your Google is of paramount importance. This tutorial shows how to use the Google Sheets Find and Replace feature so you can effortlessly locate and modify data when needed.

How to Use the Find Option to Highlight All Matching Cells

  1. Press ˝Ctrl˝ + ˝F˝ to show the search box
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Find in Sheet
  2. Enter the words or characters you want to find
     
    Type something you wish to search the worksheet for in the text box that appears just below the Extensions tab in the toolbar.
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Find in Sheet - Type Word
  3. Navigate through the search results
     
    Use the arrows to the right of the text search box to navigate through each matched item. Green highlighting will allow you to scan through the results more easily.
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Find in Sheet - Type Word - Find Next Word

How to Use Find and Replace in Google Sheets

“Find and replace” offers the ability to swiftly modify or correct data, ensuring accuracy and consistency. Whether rectifying errors, updating terminology, or ensuring uniformity, the Find and Replace function significantly enhances efficiency.

  1. Click “Edit” and then “Find and replace”
     
    Alternatively, you can bring up “Find and replace” using the hotkey “CTRL+H”.
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Edit - Find and Replace
  2. You can use “Find and replace” as an advanced version of the search feature
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Edit - Find and Replace - Type Word - Find - Result

  3. To replace text in the Google Sheet, enter the text at “Replace with” and choose the desired option
     
    You can either click “Replace” once or several times which will only replace the matching text one after another. “Replace all” will replace all occurrences in the whole Google spreadsheet at once.
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Edit - Find and Replace
  4. Optional: Define, where text should be replaced
     
    You can limit to use the Find and replace feature to the current sheet, apply it to “All sheets” or select a “Specific range” of sheets you want to replace text in.
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Edit - Find and Replace - Search
  5. Define, how to search for text
     
    “Match case”
    is very useful to distinguish between lower case and title case. You can also search for entire cell contents, expand or limit the search to formulas, and use regular expressions. If you don´t know how to use regular expressions, click “Help”.
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Edit - Find and Replace - More Options

How to Search in Google Sheets Using Conditional Formatting 

Instead of using “Search” or “Find and replace”, you can use “Conditional Formatting” to mark/highlight cells that include certain text. The main benefit of doing this is that the highlighting will stay there until removed which allows you to work through the spreadsheet afterwards independently.

  1. Open ˝Format” from the menu and select ˝Conditional formatting˝
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting
  2. Select cells for “Conditional formatting”
     
    In “Single color” – “Apply to range”, enter the data range of the cells you want to find text and thus highlight.

    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting - Apply to - Select Range - Accept

  3. Select “Text contains” in “Format rules” – “Format cells if”
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting - Format Rules - Text Contains
  4. Fill in the text or characters you want to find and highlight
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting - Format Rules - Text Contains - Type Word
  5. Choose your preferred “Formatting style”
     
    You can choose text formatting, such as bold, italics, underlined, strikethrough, or using a background color to highlight every cell where text is found.
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting - Formatting Style - File Color
  6. Using the yellow color for highlighters is usually a good option
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting - Formatting Style - File Color - Select Color
  7. Click “Done” to activate and apply the conditional formatting rule
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting - Done
  8. Every cell containing the text in the Google sheet that contains the specified text will appear as highlighted 
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting - Result
  9. Optional: Apply other formatting rules
     
    Unlike the Google Sheets “Search” or “Find and replace” feature, you can use Conditional formatting also to highlight cells/text that does not contain or  starts/ends with certain characters.
     
    Windows 11 - Google Sheets - Format - Conditional Formatting - More Options

Extra: How to Make a Google Form / Google Survey

Google Forms is a web-based application that allows you to create and share online forms and use as a free survey maker with multiple question types. With Google Forms, you can easily design your forms with different themes and settings, send them to your target audience via email or link, analyze the responses in real time or export them to Google Sheets for further analysis. In our other guide, we show you how you can create Google Forms, share your Google survey and how to generate a results view.
 
Featured - How to create a google form

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.

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