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: Limiting Searching to a Column.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 20, 2020)
As your worksheets start to contain more and more data, you'll find yourself often searching for information in the collected data. Most people do this by pressing Ctrl+F to display the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. From here you can do a search of the entire worksheet.
If you want to limit your search, however, there is one key thing you need to do: Select the range you want to search before pressing Ctrl+F. For instance, if you want to limit your search to a specific column of the worksheet, select that column before displaying the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. When the search is actually performed, only those cells in the selected range are included in the search; everything else is ignored.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3147) 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: Limiting Searching to a Column.
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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.