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Finding and Replacing in Text Boxes

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Finding and Replacing in Text Boxes.

David wonders if it is possible to use Find and Replace to locate and modify text in text boxes or in labels in charts. The short answer is that it is not possible, but there are several workarounds you can try.

First, you could easily make the text in your text boxes or in your chart labels dynamic, so that it is tied to the contents of some worksheet cells. For instance, you could do the following for your text boxes:

  1. Copy your text from each of text boxes to a range of cells on your worksheet. (For this example, assume that you copied the contents of ten text boxes to the range Z1:Z10.)
  2. Select the first text box (the one that corresponds to cell Z1) and get rid of the text box's contents.
  3. With the text box still selected, enter the following into the Formula bar: =Z1. When you press Enter, the text box should reflect whatever is in cell Z1.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each of your other text boxes, using the appropriate cell reference for each in step 3.

That's it. You can use the same technique with custom chart labels—all you need to do is select the chart label and enter a cell reference in the Formula bar. With the text boxes and chart labels tied to worksheet cells, you can easily use Find and Replace to search for and change information in the cells. When the changes are made, the text boxes and chart labels should automatically reflect the changes in the cells.

The only way to actually change the text within a text box or chart label is to change it manually or change it using a macro. The code would need to step through each text box in the worksheet and then make your change. The following is a simple version of a macro that can make such a change.

Sub TextBoxReplace()
    Dim shp As Shape
    Dim sOld As String
    Dim sNew As String

    'Change as desired
    sOld = "Old string"
    sNew = "New string"
    On Error Resume Next
    For Each shp In ActiveSheet.Shapes
        With shp.TextFrame.Characters
            .Text = Application.WorksheetFunction.Substitute( _
              .Text, sOld, sNew)
        End With
End Sub

This macro steps through all the shapes in the worksheet (text boxes are shapes) and then replaces whatever is in the sOld variable with whatever is in the sNew variable. Applying the same technique to chart labels is only a bit more complex, as shown in the following macro:

Sub ChartLabelReplace()
    Dim Cht As ChartObject
    Dim Ser As Series
    Dim scPt As Point
    Dim sOld As String
    Dim sNew As String

    'Change as desired
    sOld = "Old String"
    sNew = "New String"
    On Error Resume Next
    For Each Cht In ActiveSheet.ChartObjects
        For Each Ser In Cht.Chart.SeriesCollection
            For Each scPt In Ser.Points
                With scPt.DataLabel
                    .Text = Application.WorksheetFunction.Substitute( _
                      .Text, sOld, sNew)
                End With
End Sub

The macro steps through each data label for every data series on every chart and (again) replaces any instances of whatever is in sOld with whatever is in sNew.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9262) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Finding and Replacing in Text Boxes.

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Comments for this tip:

Scott Renz    12 Jan 2015, 09:53
Or you could make a macro that pulls all the text into cells on a sheet, then do your find and replace, then run a macro that puts the text back.

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