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.

Finding Text in Text Boxes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 8, 2017)

1

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.

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

Counting Cells with Specific Characters

Excel is used by many people to hold all sorts of data, not just numbers. If you have cells that include meaningful leading ...

Discover More

Conditional Calculations in Word

Word allows you to insert simple formulas, using fields, in table cells. You can also create simple conditional calculations ...

Discover More

Changing the Ribbon's Size and Look

The Ribbon, while debatably handy, can be downright difficult to use for those with a sight impairment. Here are some ideas ...

Discover More

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!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Limitations On Finding Characters

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

Replacing Characters at the End of a Cell

The Find and Replace capabilities of Excel can come in handy, but they can't accomplish all your replacement needs. One such ...

Discover More

Wildcards in 'Replace With' Text

When doing searches in Excel, you can use wildcard characters in the specification of what you are searching. However, you ...

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 8Mpixels. 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 7 - 0?

2017-04-13 16:18:04

john

This is great information, but I have a question. What happens if a word appears in a text box more than once? When I look at your code it appears to only change the font if it appears once, but what if you want "call out" the word more than once?


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.