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 a Value Using a Function.

Searching for a Value Using a Function

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 8, 2015)

Thor wonders if there is a way to perform a lookup without having to specify a specific column or row and having the result be the address of the cell at which the value is found. For instance, he wants to look up a value (such as 345 or "my text") and have the function search all the cells in all the worksheets in the workbook and return the full address of the cell in which the value was found.

The approach you use will be dictated by the range you want to search. If you want to search on the same worksheet on which you want the answer displayed, then you can use a formula, such as the following:

=ADDRESS(MAX(ROW(1:5)*(A1:E5="my text")),
MAX(COLUMN(A1:E1)*(A1:E5="my text")),4)

This should be entered as an array formula (press Ctrl+Shift+Enter), and it only searches in the range A1:E5. You can, if desired, change the range by adjusting the formula appropriately.

A larger search area would be to look at an entire worksheet. This can still be done using a array formula, such as the following:

=ADDRESS(MAX(ROW(Sheet1!1:65000)*(IF(Sheet1!1:65000=$A$1,1,0))),
MAX(COLUMN(Sheet1!$1:$65000)*IF(Sheet1!1:65000=$A$1,1,0)))

The formula assumes that what you are looking for is stored in cell A1. You should change the Sheet1 designation to the name of whatever worksheet you want searched.

If you want to search a wider range, such as all the worksheets in a workbook, then the best solution is to use a macro that calls upon the Find function within Excel.

Function FindAddr(vValue As Variant)
    Dim wks As Worksheet
    Dim rCell As Range
    Dim bFound As Boolean

    bFound = False
    For Each wks In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
        With wks
            Set rCell = .Cells.Find _
              (What:=vValue, After:=.Cells(1), _
              LookIn:=xlValues, LookAt:=xlWhole, _
              SearchOrder:=xlByRows, _
              SearchDirection:=xlNext, _
              MatchCase:=False)
            If Not rCell Is Nothing Then
                bFound = True
                Exit For
            End If
        End With
    Next
    If bFound Then
        FindAddr = wks.Name & "!" & _
          rCell.Address(False, False)
    Else
        FindAddr = "Not Found"
    End If
    Set wks = Nothing
    Set rCell = Nothing
End Function

This function is designed to be called from another macro, which passes it whatever should be searched for in the vValue parameter. The function returns either the full address (including worksheet name) of the first match, or it returns "Not Found" if there was no match.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3807) 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 a Value Using a Function.

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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