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: Searching for Wildcards.

Searching for Wildcards

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 29, 2018)

4

You know that you can use Excel's Find and Replace feature to locate information in your workbooks. (Just press Ctrl+F or Ctrl+H to pull up the dialog box.) You may even know that you can use question marks (?) and asterisks (*) as wildcard characters, just as you would at a DOS command prompt. What if you want to search for a cell that actually contains an asterisk or a question mark, however?

Excel allows you to search for special characters by preceding the character with the tilde (~). In other words, if you want to search for an asterisk, you would actually search for ~*. If you wanted to search for the question mark, you would search for ~? instead.

Finally, if you wanted to search for the tilde character, you would actually search for ~~. In each instance, the leading tilde informs Excel that the following character should be translated as an actual character, and not as a special wildcard character.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2333) 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: Searching for Wildcards.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Conditional Formatting with Data Imported from Access

If you want to apply a conditional format to data imported into Excel from Access, you may run into some difficulties ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of the "Enable Macros" Notice

Do you get tired of the dialog box that says "do you want to enable macros" that is displayed when you open a workbook. ...

Discover More

Finding Text Using a Specific Highlighting Color

If you use the highlighter tool extensively, you may want to search for text that is highlighted using a particular ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Find and Replace in Headers

Using Find and Replace is something quite routine in Excel, as it easily allows you to find and replace information in ...

Discover More

Making All Occurrences Bold

Want to make instances of a given word or phrase bold throughout a worksheet? Here's a way you can make the change quickly.

Discover More

Searching for Line Breaks

If you need to find where line breaks are located in cells, there are a couple of ways you can proceed. Here's a quick ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 3?

2015-10-15 13:45:48

Adalberto

YongBoo,

You can try a macro for search and replace (or remove) any cell containning chars with ascii value greater than, for example, 167.

Public Function cuttrash(r As Range)
lr = Len(r.Value)
For c = 1 To lr
at = Asc(Mid$(r.Value, c, 1))
If at > 165 Then
cuttrash = ""
Exit Function
End If
Next
cuttrash = r.Value
End Function


2014-11-24 12:47:30

Jiehan

In response to yongboo:

Find ~*, and replace with nothing.


2014-08-16 09:22:29

PhilP

@ yongboo

Ctrl-H to Find & Replace.

In Find What box enter ~*???? (with ? for each character after * you wish to remove - if you put more than you need then no problem)

Leave Replace With box empty

Hit Replace ALL


2014-08-15 14:16:12

yongboo

I'm a teacher working on some language data on Excel. I'm trying to remove every occurrence of texts followed by '*'. For example, I have multiple cells that are like this.

출연하다
*나오다

So I'm trying to get rid of '*나오다' from this particular cell, and other cells that have a similar combination. But the actual texts after '*' are different from cell to cell.

How do I do that?
Thank you so very much for any help!!


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.