Find and replace text or numbers in Excel Online with a screen reader

In Excel Online, you can use a screen reader to search for and replace text, including special characters (such as question marks, tildes, and asterisks), or numbers. You can search by rows and columns, search within comments or values, and search within worksheets or entire workbooks.


  • This topic assumes that JAWS users have the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature turned off.

  • If a shortcut requires pressing two or more keys at the same time, this topic separates the keys with a plus sign (+). If you have to press one key immediately after another, the keys are separated by a comma (,).

  • Excel Online is a web-based application, so the keyboard shortcuts and navigation may be different from those in Excel 2016. Learn more about Accessibility in Excel Online.

Find text or numbers

  1. To follow this procedure, make sure you are in Edit mode. You can tell whether you’re in Edit mode based on the options in the File menu. They are only available in Edit mode. You can switch to Edit mode by selecting Edit in Excel in the tab bar.Select the range of cells that you want to search. If you want to search the whole sheet, select any cell.

  2. To open the Find dialog, press Alt+Q. You hear “Tell me what you want to do.”

  3. Type Find, and then press Enter. The results list appears.

  4. Press the Down Arrow key until you hear “Find in worksheet,” and then press Enter. The Find dialog box opens.

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

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

  6. By default, Excel Online searches down through the sheet for text. If you want to search up, press the Tab key until you hear “Up radio button.” Press Spacebar.

  7. Press Enter. Excel Online finds and highlights the first cell in the selection area that includes contents which match the text. The screen reader reads the text in the cell.

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

Note: Excel Online currently provides Find functionality but does not allow Find and Replace. To find and replace text, open the document in Excel 2016.

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