How to Search in Google Sheets

How to Search in Google Sheets

Searching for specific information can be a hindrance when working with large sheets containing a lot of data. In this guide, I’ll show you how to quickly search in Google Sheets to find any information you need.

Use the Quick Find Tool to Search

You can use the Quick Find Tool shortcut to search in Google Sheets. To use this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Press the following key bindings:
    Ctrl + F (for Windows users)
    Cmd + F ( for macOS users)
  2. You will notice a search field in the top-right. Enter the text that you want to find in the Find field.

    Find Tool
    Enter the text you want to search in the quick find tool.

  3. It will automatically highlight the cells containing the text you entered. Use the arrows next to the text box to navigate through all the highlighted cells.

    Arrow Keys
    Use the up and down arrow keys to navigate the search results.

Use the Find and replace tool

You can use the Find and Replace tool to search for a value within a specified section of the sheet and across multiple sheets. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on Edit in the top menu and select Find and replace.Alternatively, press Ctrl + H (for Windows users) or Cmd + Shift + H (for macOS users).

    Find and replace tool
    From the Edit menu, choose Find and replace.

  2. Next to the Find text field, type the text you want to search for. To control which sheet you want to search the text in, click on the Sheets dropdown. You can select All sheets to search for values in the entire workbook. Finally, click on Find.

    Find and replace window
    Enter the search query in the Find field.

  3. Click on the Find button multiple times to navigate through the search results.

    Find and replace output
    Navigate the search results by pressing the Find button multiple times.

Use the Conditional Formatting tool

Conditional formatting allows you to highlight cells for the searched text. To use this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Format > Conditional Formatting.

    Conditional Formatting
    Go to Conditional formatting.

  2. In the “Apply to range” field, enter the range of cells you want to search in, or select the range of cells using your cursor.

    Apply to range
    Enter the range of data to search for.

  3. Click OK in the “Select a date range” pop-up.

    Select a data range
    Click OK.

  4. Under “Format rules,” click on the Format cells if dropdown and choose Text Contains.

    Text Contains
    Choose Text contains.

  5. Enter the text you want to search for in the defined range. Then, click Done.

    Text Contains Search Query
    Enter the text you want to search for.

  6. You will find the searched text highlighted in the given range.

    Highlighted Text
    Search results are highlighted.

Use Filters to search within a specific column

To search in a particular column, you can use the Filter feature:

  1. Go to Data in the top menu, and select Create a filter.
    Create a filter
    From the Data menu, select Create a filter.

    Alternatively, click on Create a filter button from the toolbar.

    Filter button
    Choose Create a filter.

  2. Left-click on the filter icon in the header for the column you want to search. For example, I want to search “United States” in the column “Country.”

    Filter icon
    Click on the Filter icon on the column header.

  3. Click on the Clear option.

    Clear button
    Click on Clear.

  4. Type the text you want to search for in that column. Then, press OK.

    Text to Search in Filter tool
    Enter the text you want to search.

  5. You will notice only the searched text in the filtered column.

    Filtered Results
    Search results using the Filter tool.

Use the SEARCH function to search within cells

The SEARCH function allows you to search for text within a cell or range of cells. To use this function, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the SEARCH function into a cell.

    Search Function
    Enter the Search Function by typing “=SEARCH”.

  2. Enter the text you want to search for within the parentheses. Then, enter the cell or range of cells you want to search. In this example, I’m searching for the “Khosi” in cell G3.

    Search Text
    Within the parentheses, enter the text and the range to search for.

  3. Hit Enter. The SEARCH function will return the position of the text you are searching for. In our example, if the text is found in the first position, the function will return a value of 1.

    Search Function Output
    It will return the position of the text you are searching for.

Phoebe is an HR assistant in her day job, but is also a web blogger that loves writing guides and sharing her experiences. When she is not out with her friends, she enjoys traveling or binge-watching Netflix. She graduated with a BA in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Utah, and is a chief editor at TechObservatory.

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