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: A Fast Find-Next.

A Fast Find-Next

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 28, 2017)


You already know how to find information in an Excel worksheet by using the searching features built into the program. Using the Find tool (press Ctrl+F) you can search for just about anything in your worksheet. I find myself using Find quite often in the course of editing a worksheet, particularly if the worksheet is quite large.

There is one thing about Find that bothers me, however. I hate having the Find and Replace dialog box block part of my worksheet as I am stepping through occurrences of a search string. Clicking on Find Next works great, but that bothersome dialog box is still blocking my view.

To overcome this, I generally do the following when I am searching for something:

  1. Press Ctrl+F as normal, specifying what I want to search for and then looking for the first occurrence.
  2. When the first occurrence is displayed, I press the Esc key (or click on Cancel). The Find and Replace dialog box disappears.
  3. To find the next occurrence, I press Shift+F4.

This procedure works the same as clicking Find Next repeatedly, and it is just as fast, but it gets rid of the annoying Find dialog box.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2117) 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: A Fast Find-Next.

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 1 + 5?

2017-12-02 09:30:27

JD Murphy

A Fast Find-Next
Excel 2016 doesn't give required reaction to Shift+F4.
Any way around it?

2015-07-10 00:10:24


Except that it sucks, because the standard shortcuts for Find Next are F3 and Ctrl+G. And apparently there's no way to change it to one of those—so we must remember a THIRD shortcut for this command? Sigh.

2013-03-27 00:41:03


thanks a ton. wonderful tip

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