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## SEARCH Function and FIND Function in Microsoft Excel

There are two very similar functions in Excel to search for data within cells that match the parameters you specify: SEARCH and FIND. There are so many similarities, in fact, that one wonders why there are two different functions that produce the same results and are identical in formula construction. This article will discuss him, the basic difference.

**SEE Introduction**

The SEARCH function is a method of finding a function or string within another cell, and will return the value associated with the starting point. In other words, if you’re trying to find out where a character is inside a cell that contains a word, phrase, or other type of information, you can use the SEARCH function. The format of this exercise is:

=SEARCH(“find_text”,”within_text”,start_number).

If, for example, the word “alphabet” was in cell C2, and your model wanted to replace the letter “a” in that cell, you would use the formula =SEARCH(“a”,C2,1), and the result would be 1. Continuing with this simple example, if you wanted to replace “b” in a word, the formula would be =SEARCH(“b”,C2,1), and the result would be 6. also use the search in the list of words. If, for example, cell F2 contains 1023-555-A123, the formula =SEARCH(“A12”,F2,1) would return 11.

**GET Introduction**

The FIND function is another way to find a function or string within another cell, and it will return the value associated with the starting point, just like the SEARCH function. The format of this exercise is:

=FIND(“find_text”,”within_text”,start_number).

Using the same example as before, the position of the letter “a” in cell C2 will be found using =FIND(“a”,C2,1), and the result will be 1. The lookup “b” in cell C2 will be 1. achieved = FIND (“b”, C2,1), resulting in the number 6. Finally, continuing in the same way, if cell F2 contains 1023- #555-A123 (as before), the formula = FIND (” A12″,F2,1) would give 11 as an answer. As you can see, so far, both methods will give you the same results.

Note: You quickly noticed that there are two a’s in the word in cell C2. By specifying the first position in each formula as 1, we will take the first instance of the letter “a”. If we had to choose the next example, we could have the “start_num” part of the formula be 2, thus skipping the first occurrence of the letter and resulting in the answer of 5.

**Key differences**

The main difference between SEARCH function and FIND function is that FIND is type sensitive and SEARCH is not. Thus, if you use the formula =SEARCH(“A”,C2,1) (note the capital “A”), the result will always be 1, as in the previous case. If you were to use the formula =FIND(“A”,C2,1), you would get #VALUE!. GET is a weak case and there is no “A” in the word “alphabet”.

Another difference is that SEARCH allows the use of wildcards while FIND does not. In this context, a question mark will search for an exact phrase or string of characters in a cell, and asterisks will search for the beginning of the string of characters immediately before the asterisk. For example, the formula =SEARCH(“a?p”,C2,1) in our alphabet example would produce an answer of 1, as it searches for the correct group of the letter “a” and anything next to it with a “p” immediately after. Since this is at the beginning of the word, the value returned is 1. Continuing with the alphabet example, the formula =SEARCH(“h*t”,C2,1) will give you the value 4. In this example, the wildcard “*” can represent any number of characters between “h” and “t” as long as there is a string that starts and ends with two letters that you use in the formula. If the formula was =SEARCH(“h*q”,C2,1), you would get #VALUE!.

In short, these two formulas are very similar, and unless you need text or string validation, you can err on the side of using SEARCH. Opportunities where this may not be the case may include searches involving specific SKUs or employee names. In my experience, RESEARCH has been more useful for a specific financial modeling approach, but it’s helpful to understand the differences in usage and results as you work through your modeling projects.

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