Ctrl + F in Excel: Function and How to Use It - Compute Expert

Ctrl + F in Excel: Function and How to Use It


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From this tutorial, you will know completely about the function of and how to use the Ctrl + F shortcut in excel.

There are many shortcuts that we can use in excel to make us work faster. One of those shortcuts can be run by pressing Ctrl and F buttons simultaneously. If you often use this shortcut, you should be able to know the location of specific data much easier.

Want to know more about this Ctrl + F shortcut in excel and how to use it optimally? Read this tutorial until its last part!

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The Function of Ctrl + F in Excel

You can use the Ctrl + F shortcut to show the Find and Replace dialog box in its Find tab in excel. The tab in the dialog box can then be used to find the data you want in your worksheet/workbook.

Here is an example of the Find and Replace dialog box that will show up when you press Ctrl and F buttons simultaneously on your keyboard in excel.

Ctrl + F in Excel: Function and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Find & Replace Dialog Box (Find Tab) that Shows Up After Pressing Ctrl + F



How to Use Ctrl + F in Excel

Using the Ctrl + F shortcut is easy. Just press Ctrl and F buttons simultaneously when your worksheet is active. By doing that, the excel Find and Replace dialog box should show up immediately.



The Find and Replace Dialog Box (Find Tab) in Excel

Here is a screenshot of the Find and Replace dialog box in its Find tab in excel.

Ctrl + F in Excel: Function and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Parts of the Find & Replace Dialog Box (Find Tab)

Parts of the tab in the dialog box that you can see there with their functions are:
  1. Find what text box: The text box where you type the data you want to find with the dialog box
  2. Options button: Show search settings where you can detail the data you want to find further
  3. Find All button: Find all the cells in your worksheet/workbook that contain the data you specify in the dialog box. Excel will highlight all the cells that has that data
  4. Find Next button: Find the next cell in your worksheet/workbook that contains the data you specify in the dialog box. Excel will move your cell cursor to the next cell it finds in your worksheet/workbook which contains the data from the position of your current active cell
  5. Close button: Close the Find and Replace dialog box

If you press the Options button in the dialog box, there will be more parts that show up as you can see in the screenshot below.

Ctrl + F in Excel: Function and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Advanced Parts of the Find & Replace Dialog Box (Find Tab)

Parts that show up here and their functions are:
  1. Within dropdown button: Determines the scope in which you want to find your data. You can choose whether you want to do your data search in your worksheet (Sheet) or your whole workbook (Workbook) here
  2. Search dropdown button: Determines how you want to find the next cell that contains the data you specify in the dialog box. You can choose whether you want excel to find that next cell by going to the right before down/by row (By Rows) or by going down before to the right/by column (By Columns)
  3. Look in dropdown button: Determines where you want to find the data. You can choose whether you want to find the data in formulas (Formulas), cell values (Values), notes (Notes), or comments (Comments)
  4. Match case check box: Determines whether you want to find the data with exact letter cases as the data you specify in the Find what text box or not. Check the check box if you want that and uncheck it if you don’t
  5. Match entire cell contents check box: Determines whether you want to find the cell with all of its content is the data you specify or only parts of its content that match. Check the check box if you want all of the cell content to match the data you want to find and uncheck if you don’t want that
  6. Format preview: Previews the format you specify for the data you want to find if there are any
  7. Format dropdown button: Helps you specify the format of the data you want to find. Here, you can specify it through the Format Cells dialog box, match the format of a cell, or clear the format you have specified before here





Cannot Use the Find and Replace Dialog Box (Find Tab) in Excel? Possible Reasons and Solutions

You want to find your data with the dialog box from the Ctrl + F shortcut but you cannot do that? Here are some possible reasons and a solution for each of them.

  • Reason: Cell range highlight
    Solution: If you highlight a cell range when you use the Find and Replace dialog box, you will only do your data search in that cell range. If you intend to search the whole worksheet/workbook, make sure you only highlight one cell when you use the Find and Replace dialog box

  • Reason: Wrong Find and Replace dialog box settings
    Solution: You may set the search dropdown, match case check box, match entire cell contents check box, and/or data format wrongly in the Find and Replace dialog box. Check your settings and make sure it fits with the data search details you want

  • Reason: Sheet protection from selecting cells
    Solution: Your worksheet might be protected and the protection forbids you to select cells. This makes excel cannot highlight the cell that contains the data you want to find. To solve this problem, make sure your worksheet is unprotected by right-clicking its tab and unprotecting it if there is a choice to do that



Exercise

After you have learned how to use the Ctrl + F shortcut in excel completely, it is time to test what you have learned!

Download the exercise file below and answer all the following questions! Download the answer key file if you want to check your answers or when you are confused about how to do the exercise!

Link to the exercise file:
Download here

Instructions

Answer all the questions in the appropriate gray-colored cells!
  1. What is the cell coordinate of the “abcde” data?
  2. What is the cell coordinate of the “1+1”? (Hint: it is a part of a formula)
  3. What is the cell coordinate of the “Hello World” sentence? (Hint: it is a part of a comment or a note)

Link to the answer key file:
Download here



Additional Note

If you want to show the Find and Replace dialog box on its Replace tab, press the Ctrl + H buttons instead of Ctrl + F.



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