Use a screen reader to find and replace data in Excel Online

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 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.

In Excel Online, you can use keyboard shortcuts with your screen reader, such as Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to search for and replace text, including special characters (such as question marks, tildes, and asterisks) or numbers. You can search within a selection, worksheets, 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 could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts in Excel Online.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader, Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, go to Get started with Narrator.

  • This topic makes note of the JAWS functionality as well. To learn more about JAWS for Windows, go to JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide.

  • 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 checkbox," 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 checkbox," 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 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 button," 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+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 numbers that you want to find and replace.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "Replace button," and then press Spacebar. The Find What text box becomes available in the Find dialog.

  5. To go to the Find What text box, press the Tab key until you hear: "Replace with, editing." In the Replace with text box, type the replacement text or numbers.

  6. Press the Tab key until you hear "Find next button." 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 button." 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 button," and then press Spacebar.

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

See also

Use as screen reader to create a table in Excel Online

Sort or filter a table in a workbook in Excel Online with a screen reader

Keyboard shortcuts in Excel Online

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

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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