by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 6, 2014)
Spreadsheets can hold quite a bit of information. In fact, over time any given spreadsheet may become a catchall for all sorts of data. Over time, finding the information you know you placed in the spreadsheet can seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
That's where the Find and Replace tool comes in handy. To use the tool, choose Find and Replace from the Edit menu. Sheets displays the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Find and Replace dialog box.
The two primary controls in the dialog are the Find and Replace With boxes. They are pretty self-explanatory, but all you need to do is enter what you want to search for in the Find box and what you want to replace it with in the Replace With box. (If you don't really want to do replacing at this point or if you want to delete what you are finding, leave the Replace With box empty.)
If uppercase and lowercase letters matter in what you entered, select the Match Case check box. The Match Entire Cell Contents check box is important as it indicates whether you want to search only for entire cells or search within cells. There is also a check box to indicate whether Sheets should look in only the current sheet or in all sheets. (Understand—the Search All Sheets check box controls whether searching is done on all sheets in the open spreadsheet, not whether other spreadsheets in Drive are searched.)
When you are ready to begin looking, click the Find button. As Find and Replace locates matches, it displays them. You can then choose to replace them or skip that instance and move to the next. The Replace All button allows you to replace all instances of what you are looking for in a single operation.
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