# The Excel SEARCH Function

Related Function:
FIND function

## Function Description

The Excel SEARCH function returns the position of a specified character or sub-string within a supplied text string.

The function is not case-sensitive. If you want to perform a case-sensitive search, use the Excel Find function instead.

The syntax of the Search function is:

SEARCH( search_text, within_text, [start_num] )

Where the function arguments are:

 search_text - The character or sub-string that you wish to search for. within_text - The text string that is to be searched. [start_num] - An optional argument that specifies the position in the within_text string, from which the search should begin. If omitted, this takes on the default value of 1 (i.e. begin the search at the start of the within_text string)

Wildcards

You can also use the following wildcards in the search_text argument:

?    -    matches any single character
*    -    matches any sequence of characters

e.g. the condition "A*e" will match any substring beginning with "A" and ending in "e".

If the supplied search_text is found, the Search function returns a number representing its position in the within_text. If the supplied search_text is not found, the function returns the Excel #VALUE! error.

## Search Function Examples

Column B of the following spreadsheet shows examples of the Excel Search function, used to search for various characters within the text string "Original Text".

Formulas:

A B
1 Original Text =SEARCH( "T", A1 )
2 Original Text =SEARCH( "t", A2 )
3 Original Text =SEARCH( "i", A3 )
4 Original Text =SEARCH( "i", A4, 4 )

Results:

A B
1 Original Text 10
2 Original Text 10
3 Original Text 3
4 Original Text 5

Note that, in the above examples:

• As the Search function is not case sensitive, the upper- and lower-case search_text values, "T" and "t", return the same result (see cells B1 & B2).
• In the example in cell B4, the [start_num] argument is set to 4. Therefore the search begins at the fourth character of the within_text string and so returns the second occurrence of the character "i".

See the Microsoft Office website for further details and examples of the Excel Search function.

## Search Function Error

If you get an error from the Excel Search function this is likely to be the #VALUE! error:

Common Error
 #VALUE! - Occurs if either: The supplied search_text is not found in the supplied within_text string; The supplied [start_num] is less than zero or is greater than the length of the supplied within_text string.