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Excel 2003: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Find and Replace

When you're dealing with great mounds of data, it can be tough to ferret out the nuggets of data you need. Fortunately, Excel's find feature is great for helping you locate numbers or text, even when they're buried within massive workbooks holding dozens of complex worksheets. And if you need to make changes to a bunch of identical items, the find-and-replace option can be a real time-saver.

The find and replace feature includes both simple and advanced options. In its basic version, you're only a quick keystroke combo away from a word or number you know is lurking somewhere in your data pile. With the advanced options turned on, you can do things like search for cells that have certain formatting characteristics and apply changes automatically. The next few sections dissect these features.

The Basic Find

Excel's find feature is a little like the Go To tool described in Chapter 1, which lets you move across a large expanse of cells in a single bound. The difference is that Go To moves to a known location, using the cell address you specify. The find feature, on the other hand, searches every cell until it finds the content you've asked Excel to look for. Excel's search works similarly to the search feature in Microsoft Word, but it's worth keeping in mind a few additional details:

  • Excel searches by comparing the content you enter with the content in each cell. For example, if you searched for the word Date, Excel identifies as a match a cell containing the phrase ...

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