How to Use The Search Feature In Excel 365

Lots of folks have opined in the past that Excel has never been a user-friendly application. It is true that Excel has so many powerful features but it can be tough to keep track of them all. Microsoft has listened to these laments and in Excel 2016, they made it easier with an enhanced search feature called Tell Me, which made buried tools much easier to locate. Microsoft has now renamed that feature. It is now called Search, but it works essentially the same as Tell Me.

Follow the steps below to learn how:

  1. Click in the Search box on the right-hand side of the tabs on your Ribbon. Or, like me, you can simply use the shortcut Alt-Q instead (as you know, I love to save time and keystrokes).
  2. Next, key in a task you would like to perform (i.e., create a pivot table). A menu will now appear showing potential matches for the task. If you go ahead and try it, the top result is a direct link to the form for creating a PivotTable.
  3. Select it and you will start creating a PivotTable without having to go to the Ribbon’s Insert tab first.

The search box makes it much easier to perform myriad tasks in Excel.

If you feel that you need more information regarding your task, the last two items that appear in the above-mentioned menu allow you to select from related Help topics or search for your phrase using Smart Lookup.

5 thoughts on “How to Use The Search Feature In Excel 365”

  1. Is there a way in EXCEL 2016 to search for a string in a comment and find the line within the comment where the string exists? Some of my EXCEL comments are very long and though Excel does point to the cell containing the comment with my string, I then have to find the string which can be very time-consuming (I often have to cut and paste the comment into NOTEPAD and redo the search!).

  2. I am by no means an Excel expert but here is what I found for you:

    Press Ctrl+F on your keyboard to open the Find and Replace dialog box with the Find tab active. Click “Options”. To narrow the search to only comments, select “Comments” from the “Look in” drop-down list. By default, Excel will only search the current worksheet.

    I hope t his is helpful to you.

    1. I appreciate your effort, but the problem is finding where within the comment the search string exists. For large comments, this is not easy to find without extra effort.
      Most likely there’s a macro out there that can do this.

      1. I am sorry I could not help you more. As I said, I am not an Excel expert by any means. I suppose you are right, there most likely is a macro out there somewhere but alas I am not aware of it.

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