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 All.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 6, 2019)
Jack wonders how he can do a search for a certain word or phrase and, in one step, highlight all the cells containing it so that he can cut or copy them and paste them elsewhere.
Selecting the cells containing the text you want to use is rather easy; you can use the standard Find and Replace feature to do it. Follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
That's it. As long as you didn't click on Match Entire Cell Contents in step 4, Excel selects all the cells that contain the text you specified in step 3. You can, at that point, apply formatting to the cells, if desired.
You could, of course, use conditional formatting to dynamically format cells that contain the text you want to highlight. All you need to do is set up a condition that uses a formula that tests for the presence of the text you want. This won't, of course, select all the cells that contain the text, but it will highlight them so you can pick out where they are.
You could also use a macro to select all the cells that contain the desired text. The following is a rather simple one that accomplishes the task:
Sub selCellbasedonValue() Dim c As Object Dim u As Range Dim v As Range Dim sInpt As String Set u = ActiveSheet.UsedRange sInpt = InputBox("Enter the search text") If sInpt > "" Then For Each c In u If Instr(LCase(sInpt),LCase(c.Value)) > 0 Then If v Is Nothing Then Set v = Range(c.Address) Else Set v = Union(v, Range(c.Address)) End If End If Next v.Select Set v = Nothing End If Set u = Nothing End Sub
There is a problem with selecting cells that you need to recognize, however—if the cells are non-contiguous, you cannot cut or copy the cells. If you try, you'll get an error message indicating that the command cannot be used on multiple selections. The easiest way to copy cell contents to a different location is to, again, use a macro:
Sub CopyFinds() Dim sSrch As String Dim sFirst As String Dim rPaste As Range Dim i As Integer Dim iLeftC As Integer Dim lTopR As Long Dim c As Object If Selection.Cells.Count = 1 Then MsgBox "Select the range to be searched." Exit Sub End If 'Specify search string sSrch = InputBox(Prompt:="Enter the search text") ' Set the paste address On Error Resume Next Set rPaste = Application.InputBox(Prompt:="Enter the upper-left " & _ "cell address for the paste range", Type:=8) On Error GoTo 0 ' Exit if canceled If TypeName(rPaste) <> "Range" Then Exit Sub ' Upper left cell to be used Set rPaste = rPaste.Range("A1") 'Set where paste will start and headings Application.ScreenUpdating = False lTopR = rPaste.Row iLeftC = rPaste.Column Cells(lTopR, iLeftC) = "Address" Cells(lTopR, iLeftC + 1) = "Cell Value" lTopR = lTopR + 1 'Start copying cell values With Selection Set c = .Find(What:=sSrch, LookAt:=xlPart, MatchCase:=True) If Not c Is Nothing Then sFirst = c.Address Do Cells(lTopR, iLeftC) = c.Address Cells(lTopR, iLeftC + 1) = c.Value Set c = .FindNext(c) lTopR = lTopR + 1 Loop While Not c Is Nothing And c.Address <> sFirst End If End With Application.ScreenUpdating = True Cells(rPaste.Row, rPaste.Column).Select End Sub
When you select a range of cells and run this macro, you are asked to specify what you are searching for (case is important) and an address of where you want to copy it. The macro then finds all cells that contain that value and copy both their address and the cell value to the starting address you specified. The macro doesn't do a lot of error checking; it will overwrite information if you specify a target address that has information in it already. In addition, if you specify a target address that is within the range you are searching, the macro may run infinitely. You should definitely specify a target that is outside of the range being searched.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8963) 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 All.
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