SEARCH Formula in Excel

Search formula in excel returns the position of one text string inside another.

This formula returns the location of the first character of find_text inside the within_text. It allows the use of wildcards and is not case sensitive.

What are wildcards? 

There are three wildcards; ASTERISK (*), QUESTION MARK, TILDE(~).

SEARCH Formula breakdown is written here:

=SEARCH(find_text, within_text, [start_num])

Explanation of this SEARCH formula;

=SEARCH(that text which needs to be searched, that source text, [starting position of that source text] 

If you are wondering how to use the search formula in excel. Here are all the process is mentioned below with step-by-step. 

Previously in formulas: What is OR Formula in Excel?

STEP 1: First you have to enter the SEARCH FUNCTION in a blank cell.

Like this; =SEARCH(

 Like this; =SEARCH(

STEP 2: Now continue the formula with SEARCH arguments:


What is the text you need to search?

There are so many flexible setting here you can do in find_text:

  1. ASTERISK (*) matches any number of character while question marks (?) matches any single character. 
  2. For instance, if you are placing H?w, then you have to search for any 3 character text which starts with the H and ends with the w.
  3. If you will change it to H*w, then you need to search for any text which starts with H and ends with w. 
  4. You have to add a tilde character (~) before the character if you want to match the question mark or asterisk characters. E.g., (~?), (~*).

Now select the cell which contains the text which needs to be searched. Here in our first search example, we will search for ‘x’ in the word ‘EXCEL’.




In this place, you need to select the source text. 


 =SEARCH(D9, C9,


You have to fix from where you want to start searching in your source text. If you want you can leave it blank too because it will automatically default to 1 that means it will start looking from the first character of its source text.  Here we are going to put in 1 and start searching from there.

=SEARCH(D9, C9, 1)

 =SEARCH(D9, C9, 1)

Now with the help of lower right corner apply this same search formula to the other cells too by dragging it downwards;

search formula