Use a screen reader to find and replace data in Excel

Use a screen reader to find and replace data in Excel

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use Excel with your keyboard and a screen reader to find and replace text and numbers. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to use characters, including wildcards, to search sheets, rows, columns, or entire workbooks.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • When using Narrator, your keyboard will default to the Standard layout. To change this in the Narrator settings, press the Windows logo key+Ctrl+N. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Select keyboard layout, Standard." To change the layout to Legacy, press the Down arrow key once. You hear: "Legacy, selected." The new Narrator commands will not be available in the Legacy keyboard layout if keystrokes for legacy commands conflict with those used in new Narrator features.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

In this topic

Find text or numbers

  1. Press Ctrl+F to open the Find and Replace dialog. The focus moves to the Find what text box in the Find tab.

  2. In the Find what text box, type the text or numbers that you want to find. You have several options:

    • Type the text or numbers that you want to search for.

    • Use a wildcard character, such as an asterisk (*) or a question mark (?), in your search criteria:

      • Use the asterisk to find any string of characters. For example, s*d finds "sad" and "started."

      • Use the question mark to find any single character. For example, s?t finds "sat" and "set."

      Tip: Even though they’re wildcard characters, you can still find asterisks, question marks, and tilde characters (~) in worksheet data by preceding them with a tilde character in the Find what box. For example, to find data that contains a question mark, enter ~? as your search criteria.

  3. To define more search options, press Alt+T. You have several options:

    • To select where to search for text or numbers, press the Tab key until you hear "Within." You hear the currently selected search option ("Sheet" or "Workbook"). Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move to the option you want, and press Enter to select it.

    • To select whether to search by rows or by columns, press the Tab key until you hear "Search." You hear the currently selected search option ("By Rows" or "By Columns"). Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move to the option you want, and press Enter to select it.

    • To select whether to search within cell formulas, values, or comments, press the Tab key until you hear "Look in." You hear the currently selected search option ("Formulas," "Values," or "Comments"). Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move to the option you want, and press Enter to select it.

    • To search for case-sensitive data, press the Tab key until you hear "Match case," and then press Spacebar to fill the check box.

    • To search for cells that contain only the characters that you typed in the Find what box, press the Tab key until you hear "Match entire cell contents," and then press Spacebar to fill the check box.

    • If you want to search for text or numbers that also have specific formatting, press Alt+M to open the Find Format dialog box. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to move to the appropriate tab (Number, Alignment, Font, Border, or Fill), and press Spacebar. Then, select the formatting that you want to include in your search. When you have defined the formatting you want, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and then press Enter.

      Tip: If you want to find cells that only match a specific format, you can delete any text or number criteria in the Find what box and then select a cell that contains that formatting. Press Alt+M to open the Find Format dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "Choose Format From Cell," and press Enter. In the worksheet, use the arrow keys to select the cell that has the formatting that you want to search for. To add the formatting of the selected cell to your search criteria in the Find and Replace dialog box, press Enter.

  4. To start the search, press the Tab key until you hear "Find next," and then press Enter. Excel finds the first matching occurrence in the search area. Your screen reader reads the text in the cell and its location.

    Note: When you define formatting as part of your search criteria, it is saved in the Find and Replace dialog box. If you search the worksheet for data again and cannot find characters that you know to be there, you might need to clear the formatting criteria from the previous search. Within the Find and Replace dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "Format," If the Format button is not available, press Alt+T, and then press Tab until you hear "Format." To clear the formatting criteria, press the Down arrow key until you hear "Clear Find Format," and then press Enter.

  5. To find the next occurrence, press Enter.

  6. To cancel the search and close the dialog, press Esc.

Find and replace text or numbers

  1. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace dialog. The focus moves to the Find what text box in the Replace tab.

  2. In the Find what text box, type the text or numbers that you want to find and replace with something else. You have several options:

    • Type the text or numbers that you want to search for.

    • Use a wildcard character, such as an asterisk (*) or a question mark (?), in your search criteria:

      • Use the asterisk to find any string of characters. For example, s*d finds "sad" and "started."

      • Use the question mark to find any single character. For example, s?t finds "sat" and "set."

      Tip: Even though they’re wildcard characters, you can still find asterisks, question marks, and tilde characters (~) in worksheet data by preceding them with a tilde character in the Find what box. For example, to find data that contains a question mark, enter ~? as your search criteria.

  3. To define more search options, press Alt+T. You have several options:

    • To select where to search for text or numbers, press the Tab key until you hear "Within." You hear the currently selected search option ("Sheet" or "Workbook"). Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move to the option you want, and press Enter to select it.

    • To select whether to search by rows or by columns, press Tab until you hear "Search." You hear the currently selected search option ("By Rows" or "By Columns"). Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move to the option you want, and press Enter to select it.

    • To search for case-sensitive data, press Tab until you hear "Match case," and then press Spacebar to fill the check box.

    • To search for cells that contain only the characters that you typed in the Find what box, press the Tab key until you hear "Match entire cell contents" and then press Spacebar to fill the check box.

  4. To define what to replace the found text or numbers with, press the Tab key until you hear "Replace with." In the Replace with text box, type the replacement text or numbers.

  5. To start the search, press the Tab key until you hear "Find next," and then press Enter. Excel finds the first occurrence of the text or number that you entered. Do one of the following:

    • To replace each occurrence individually, press Shift+Tab until you hear: "Replace." Press Enter to replace the occurrence. After replacement, the focus moves to the next occurrence.

    • To find and replace all occurrences, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Replace all," and then press Enter.

  6. To cancel the search and close the dialog, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to sort or filter a table in Excel

Excel keyboard shortcuts and function keys for Windows

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Use Excel for Mac with your keyboard and a screen reader such as VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to find and replace text and numbers. Use characters, including wildcards, to search sheets, rows, columns, or entire workbooks.

Notes: 

In this topic

Find text or numbers

  1. Select the range of cells that you want to search. If you want to search the whole sheet, select any cell.

  2. Press Command+F to get to the Search Sheet box. You hear “Search Sheet, search text field blank.”

  3. Type the text or number that you want to find.

    Tip: You can use wildcard characters — question mark (?), asterisk (*), tilde (~) — in your search criteria. Use the question mark (?) to find any single character — for example, s?t finds "sat" and "set". Use the asterisk (*) to find any number of characters — for example, s*d finds "sad" and "started". Use the tilde (~) followed by ?, *, or ~ to find question marks, asterisks, or other tilde characters — for example, fy91~? finds "fy91?".

  4. Press Return. Excel for Mac finds and highlights the first cell in the selection area whose contents match the text.

  5. To find the next instance of the item that you're searching for, press Return again.

Tip: To cancel a search in progress, press Esc.

Additional search options:

To do this

Press

Search a sheet or a whole workbook

In the Search Sheet text box, press Control+Option+Spacebar. The Search menu opens. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “Search in Sheet” or “Search in Workbook,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Search by rows or by columns

In the Search Sheet text box, press Control+Option+Spacebar. The Search menu opens. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “Advanced Search, ellipsis,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The Find window opens.

Press Control+Option+Down arrow key until you hear “Search,” and press Control+Option+Right arrow key. Press Control+Option+Spacebar, and then press Down arrow key until you hear “By Rows” or “By Columns.” Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select the appropriate option. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Find Next, default, button,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Search only for specific types of information

In the Search Sheet text box, press Control+Option+Spacebar. The Search menu opens. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “Advanced Search, ellipsis,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The Find window opens.

Press Control+Option+Down arrow key until you hear “Look in,” and then press Control+Option+Down arrow key. You hear: "Values, Look in, popup button." Press Down arrow key to find the option you want, Formulas, Values, or Comments. When you hear the option you want, to select it press Control+Option+Spacebar. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Find Next, default, button,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Search for case-sensitive content

In the Find window, press Control+Option+Left arrow key or Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Match case, unchecked, checkbox,” and then select it by pressing Control+Option+Spacebar. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Find Next, default, button,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Search for exact matches only

In the Find window, press Control+Option+Left arrow key or Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Find entire cells only, unchecked, checkbox,” and then select it by pressing Control+Option+Spacebar. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Find Next, default, button,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Replace text or numbers

  1. Select the range of cells that you want to search. If you want to search the whole sheet, select any cell.

  2. Press Command+F to get to the Search Sheet box. You hear “Search Sheet, search text field blank.”

  3. Type the text or number that you want to find.

    Tip: You can use wildcard characters — question mark (?), asterisk (*), tilde (~) — in your search criteria. Use the question mark (?) to find any single character — for example, s?t finds "sat" and "set". Use the asterisk (*) to find any number of characters — for example, s*d finds "sad" and "started". Use the tilde (~) followed by ?, *, or ~ to find question marks, asterisks, or other tilde characters — for example, fy91~? finds "fy91?".

  4. To open the Search menu, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “Replace…” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The Replace window opens.

  6. To move to the Replace with text box, press Control+Option+Down arrow key until you hear “Replace with, edit text.”

  7. To replace the characters in the Find what box with nothing, leave the Replace with box blank. Otherwise, type the text that you want to appear instead.

  8. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key to move to the buttons and select the one you want by pressing Control+Option+Spacebar:

    • Replace To replace just the next instance found.

    • Replace All To replace all occurrences of the text you searched for.

    • Close To cancel the Find and Replace operation.

    • Find Next To find and replace the next instance and keep the Replace window open.

      Tip: You can cancel a search in progress by pressing Esc.

Additional replace options:

To do this

Press

Search and replace a sheet or a whole workbook

In the Replace window, press Control+Option+Left arrow key or Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Within popup button,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. A menu opens. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear “Sheet” or “Workbook,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Search and replace by rows or by columns

In the Replace window, press Control+Option+Left arrow key or Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Search popup button,” and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. A menu opens. Press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear “By Rows” or “By Columns,” and then to select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Search and replace case-sensitive content

In the Replace window, press Control+Option+Left arrow key or Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Match case, unchecked, checkbox,” and then select it by pressing Control+Option+Spacebar.

Search for exact matches only

In the Replace window, press Control+Option+Left arrow key or Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear “Find entire cells only, unchecked, checkbox,” and then select it by pressing Control+Option+Spacebar.

See also

Use a screen reader to print an Excel workbook

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel for Mac

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel for Mac

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Use Excel for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to search for and replace text or numbers in a worksheet.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For touch capabilities in Excel for iOS, go to Excel for iPhone Touch Guide or Excel for iPad touch guide.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • This topic assumes that you are using an iPhone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an iPad.

Find text or numbers

If your worksheet has more than a few rows and columns, use the Search button to move the focus to the right cell quickly.

  1. In your worksheet, drag a finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Search, button," and then double-tap the screen. If you had previously searched for something, VoiceOver reads the search term you used the last time.

  2. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your search term. It can be text or numbers. You hear the number of matches when you stop typing.

  3. Drag a finger around the bottom right corner of the screen until you hear "Search," then double-tap the screen. The focus moves to the first cell that matches your search term, and VoiceOver reads the contents of the cell.

  4. To move to the next or previous match, drag a finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Next search result" or "Previous search result, button," and then double-tap the screen.

Replace text or numbers

  1. In your worksheet, drag a finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Search, button," then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe left once. You hear: "Search options, button." Double-tap the screen to open the Options menu.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Find and Replace" or "Find and Replace All," depending on what you want to do, and then double-tap the screen. The currently active option is preceded by "Selected."

  4. Swipe left until you hear "Done, button," and double-tap the screen to close the Options dialog.

  5. Drag a finger around the top part of the screen until you hear "Search, text field," then double-tap the screen.

  6. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your search term. It can be text or numbers. You hear the number of matches when you stop typing.

  7. Drag a finger around the top part of the screen until you hear "Replace, text field" or "Replace All, text field," depending on what you want to do, then double-tap the screen.

    Tip: This field is directly below the Search field.

  8. Type the text or numbers you want to replace the search term with.

  9. Drag a finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Replace, button" or "Replace All, button," depending on what you want to do, then double-tap the screen to replace the currently selected match or all matches with the new text or numbers.

See also

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Use Excel for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to search for and replace text or numbers in a worksheet.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • For touch capabilities in Excel for Android, go to Excel for Android touch guide.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with an Android phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an Android tablet.

In this topic

Find text or numbers

If your worksheet has more than a few rows and columns, use the Find button to move the focus to the right cell quickly.

  1. In your worksheet, drag a finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Find button," and then double-tap the screen. If you had previously searched for something, TalkBack reads the search term you used the last time.

  2. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your search term. It can be text or numbers.

  3. Drag a finger around the bottom right corner of the screen until you hear "Search," then double-tap the screen. The on-screen keyboard closes and the focus moves to the first cell that matches your search term, if there are any.

    • To find out how many matches there are, swipe right until you hear "Submit button," then swipe right once more to hear the number of matches. If there are no matches, you hear: "Zero."

    • To move to the next or previous match, swipe right until you hear "Find next button" or "Find previous button," and double-tap the screen.

    • To close the search bar, when the on-screen keyboard is closed, drag a finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Find button," then double-tap the screen.

Tips: TalkBack doesn't read the contents of the cell when using the Find button in Excel for Android, so if there are several matches, do one of the following:

  • Try another search term. For example, if you search for apples and your worksheet includes both "Red apples" and "Green apples", write the full text of the cell you want to find.

  • After closing the on-screen keyboard, swipe right and then left to hear TalkBack read the contents of the cell and announce its location in the worksheet.

Replace text or numbers

  1. In your worksheet, drag a finger around the top right corner of the screen until you hear "Find button," then double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe left once. You hear: "More options button." Double-tap the screen to open the Find Settings dialog.

  3. Swipe left until you hear "Not checked, Find and Replace All radio button" or "Not checked, Find and Replace radio button," depending on what you want to do, and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe left until you hear "Close button," and double-tap the screen to close the Find Settings dialog.

  5. Use the on-screen keyboard to type your search term. It can be text or numbers.

  6. To find out how many matches there are, swipe right until you hear "Submit button," then swipe right once more to hear the number of matches. If there are no matches, you hear: "Zero."

  7. Swipe right until you hear "Replace... edit box," and double-tap the screen.

  8. Type the text or numbers you want to replace the search term with.

  9. Drag a finger around the bottom right corner of the screen until you hear "Done," then double-tap the screen. The on-screen keyboard closes.

  10. Swipe left until you hear "Find next button" or "Find previous button," and double-tap the screen.

  11. Swipe right until you hear "Replace button" or "All button," depending on what you want to do, and double-tap the screen to replace the currently selected match or all matches with the new text or numbers.

See also

Use a screen reader to sort or filter a table in Excel

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Use Excel Online with your keyboard and a screen reader to search for and replace text and numbers. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to use characters, including wildcards, to search sheets, rows, columns, or entire workbooks.

Notes: 

  • If you use Narrator with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have to turn off scan mode in order to edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with Office Online. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • When using Narrator, your keyboard will default to the Standard layout. To change this in the Narrator settings, press the Windows logo key+Ctrl+N. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Select keyboard layout, Standard." To change the layout to Legacy, press the Down arrow key once. You hear: "Legacy, selected." The new Narrator commands will not be available in the Legacy keyboard layout if keystrokes for legacy commands conflict with those used in new Narrator features.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

  • When you use Excel Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Excel Online runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Excel Online.

In this topic

Find text or numbers

  1. Select the range of cells that you want to search. If you want to search the whole sheet, select any cell.

  2. Press Ctrl+F to open the Find dialog. The focus moves to the Find What text box, and you hear: "Dialog find, focused on find what."

  3. In the Find What text box, type the text or number that you want to find. You have several options:

    • Type the text or numbers that you want to search for.

    • Use a wildcard character, such as an asterisk (*) or a question mark (?), in your search criteria:

      • Use the asterisk to find any string of characters. For example, s*d finds "sad" and "started."

      • Use the question mark to find any single character. For example, s?t finds "sat" and "set."

      Tip: Even though they’re wildcard characters, you can still find asterisks, question marks, and tilde characters (~) in worksheet data by preceding them with a tilde character in the Find what box. For example, to find data that contains a question mark, enter ~? as your search criteria.

      Note: Searching for double spaces is not possible in Excel Online.

  4. To search for text or numbers in a worksheet or in the entire workbook, press the Tab key once to go to the Within combo box. You hear the currently selected searching option ("Selection," "Sheet," or "Workbook"). Press Spacebar, and then use the Up or Down arrow keys until you hear the option you want. To select, press Spacebar.

  5. To search for case-sensitive data, press the Tab key until you hear "Unchecked, match case," and then press Spacebar to select.

  6. To search for cells that contain only the characters that you typed in the Find what box, press the Tab key until you hear "Unchecked, match entire cell contents," and then press Spacebar to select.

    Tips: 

    • If you want to search for text or numbers that also have specific formatting, you need to use the Excel desktop app. To open the app from View mode, move the focus out of the worksheet by pressing Ctrl+F6 until you hear your account name. Press the Tab key until you hear "Edit workbook," and then press Spacebar. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Edit in Excel," and then press Spacebar.

    • To learn how to search for a specific format in the Excel_generic desktop app, refer to Use a screen reader to find and replace data in Excel.

  7. To change the search direction to up, press the Tab key, until you hear "Selected radio button down," and then press the Up arrow key. You hear: "Non-selected radio button up." To select, press Spacebar.

  8. To start the search, press the Tab key until you hear "Find next," and then press Spacebar. Excel finds the first matching occurrence in the searching area. Your screen reader reads the text in the cell and its location.

  9. To find the next occurrence, press Spacebar. To cancel the search or close the dialog, press Esc.

Find and replace text or numbers

To find and replace text or numbers in Excel Online, make sure you are in Edit mode. You can tell whether you're in Edit mode based on the options in the File menu.

Note: To switch to Edit mode, move the focus out of the worksheet by pressing Ctrl+F6 until you hear your account name, press the Tab until you hear "Edit workbook," and then press Spacebar. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Edit in Browser," and then press Spacebar.

  1. Select the range of cells that you want to search. If you want to search the whole sheet, select any cell.

  2. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace dialog. The focus moves to the Find what text box.

  3. In the Find what text box, type the text or numbers that you want to find and replace.

  4. To go to the Replace with text box, press the Tab key until you hear: "Replace with." Type the replacement text or numbers.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear "Find next." Press Spacebar to find the first occurrence of the text or number that you entered. Do one of the following:

    • To replace each occurrence individually, press the Tab key once. You hear: "Replace." Then press Spacebar to replace the first occurrence, and find the next one. After replacement, the focus moves to the next occurrence.

    • To find and replace all occurrences, press the Tab key until you hear "Replace all," and then press Spacebar.

  6. To cancel the search or close the dialog, press Esc.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert a table in an Excel worksheet

Use a screen reader to sort or filter a table in Excel

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel Online

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Excel

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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