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: Finding Text in Text Boxes.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 8, 2017)
Walter has a worksheet that has a number of text boxes in it. He would like to search through those text boxes to find some specific text, but Find and Replace doesn't seem capable of finding text in text boxes. He wonders if there is a way to search through text boxes.
Walter is right; you cannot find text located in text boxes in Excel. To test this, we opened a brand new workbook, placed a single phrase in it ("my message"), and then placed some random text and numbers in other cells in the worksheet. Then, with the text box not selected, Ctrl+F was pressed to search for "my message." Excel dutifully reported that it couldn't find the text, even though it was still right there, in the text box.
Fortunately, you can search for text in a text box using a macro. Each text box in a worksheet belongs to the Shapes collection, so all you need to do is step through each member of the collection and see if it contains the desired text. Here's a macro that prompts for a search string and then looks for it in the text boxes.
Sub FindInShape1() Dim rStart As Range Dim shp As Shape Dim sFind As String Dim sTemp As String Dim Response sFind = InputBox("Search for?") If Trim(sFind) = "" Then MsgBox "Nothing entered" Exit Sub End If Set rStart = ActiveCell For Each shp In ActiveSheet.Shapes sTemp = shp.TextFrame.Characters.Text If InStr(LCase(sTemp), LCase(sFind)) <> 0 Then shp.Select Response = MsgBox( _ prompt:=shp.Name & vbCrLf & _ sTemp & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & _ "Do you want to continue?", _ Buttons:=vbYesNo, Title:="Continue?") If Response <> vbYes Then Set rStart = Nothing Exit Sub End If End If Next MsgBox "No more found" rStart.Select Set rStart = Nothing End Sub
This macro looks through all the shapes in the worksheet, not just the text boxes. If you prefer to limit your search to only text boxes, you can step through the TextBoxes collection instead of the Shapes collection; either way will work fine.
Notice, as well, that this approach stops each time it finds matching text (the case of the text doesn't matter) and asks you if you want to continue. You may, instead, want a macro that simply marks the matching text in text boxes. This can be done with a shorter macro, as shown here:
Sub FindInShape2() Dim shp As Shape Dim sFind As String Dim sTemp As String Dim iPos As Integer Dim Response sFind = InputBox("Search for?") If Trim(sFind) = "" Then MsgBox "Nothing entered" Exit Sub End If sFind = LCase(sFind) For Each shp In ActiveSheet.Shapes sTemp = LCase(shp.TextFrame.Characters.Text) iPos = InStr(sTemp, sFind) If iPos > 0 Then With shp.TextFrame.Characters(Start:=iPos, _ Length:=Len(sFind)).Font .ColorIndex = 3 .Bold = True End With End If Next MsgBox "Finished" End Sub
This macro highlights the located text using a bold, red font. When you are done, you probably want to change the text back to regular text. You can do so by using the following macro:
Sub ResetFont() Dim shp As Shape For Each shp In ActiveSheet.Shapes With shp.TextFrame.Characters.Font .ColorIndex = 0 .Bold = False End With Next End Sub
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11281) 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: Finding Text in Text Boxes.
Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!
When you search for information in a worksheet, you expect Excel to return results that make sense. If you don't get a search ...Discover More
The Find and Replace capabilities of Excel can come in handy, but they can't accomplish all your replacement needs. One such ...Discover More
When doing searches in Excel, you can use wildcard characters in the specification of what you are searching. However, you ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.