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 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 2016 with your keyboard and a screen reader such as JAWS or Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to find and replace text and numbers. Use characters, including wildcards, to search sheets, rows, columns, or entire workbooks.

Notes: 

  1. In a worksheet, select any cell.

  2. In the Find and Replace dialog box, open the appropriate tab.

    • To use the Find tab in the Find and Replace dialog box to find text or numbers, press Ctrl+F.

    • To use the Replace tab in the Find and Replace dialog box to replace text or numbers, press Alt+E, E. If the Find and Replace dialog box is already open, to open the Replace tab, press Alt+P.

  3. In the Find what box, enter the text or numbers that you want to search for. 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.

  4. To refine your search, tab to the Options button and press Enter. You can also press Alt+T.

    • To search for data in a worksheet or in an entire workbook, tab to the Within combo box (Alt+H), press the Down Arrow key, and then select Sheet or Workbook. Press Enter.

    • To search for data in rows or columns, tab to the Search combo box (Alt+S), press the Down Arrow key, and then select By Rows or By Columns. Press Enter.

    • To search for data with specific details, tab to the Look in combo box (Alt+L), press the Down Arrow key, and then select Formulas, Values, or Comments. Press Enter.

      Tip: The Formulas, Values, and Comments options are only available on the Find tab, and only Formulas is available on the Replace tab.

    • To search for case-sensitive data, tab to the Match case check box (Alt+C) and press Spacebar.

    • To search for cells that contain only the characters that you typed in the Find what box, tab to the Match entire cell contents check box (Alt+O) and press Spacebar.

  5. If you want to search for text or numbers that also have specific formatting, tab to the Format button and press Enter (Alt+M). In the Find Format dialog box which opens, to move to the appropriate tab (Number, Alignment, Font, Border, or Fill) press Spacebar. Then, select the formatting that you want to include in your search. Tab to the OK button, and 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. Tab to the Format button, and press the Down Arrow key. Press the Down Arrow key again until you select Choose Format From Cell, and press Enter. In the worksheet, to select the cell that has the formatting that you want to search for, use the arrow keys. To add the formatting of the selected cell to your search criteria in the Find and Replace dialog box, press Enter.

  6. With your criteria in place, start your search.

    • To find text or numbers, tab to the Find Next (Alt+F) or Find All (Alt+I) button.

      Tip: If you select the Find All button, every occurrence that meets your search criteria is listed in the dialog box, and this list has the focus. To select one of the occurrences in the list, press the Down Arrow key or the Up Arrow key. To move from the dialog box to the worksheet, press Alt+Tab. Make the change you want in the cell. To return to the Find and Replace dialog box, press Alt+Tab as many times as necessary.

    • To replace text or numbers, type the replacement characters in the Replace with box (or, to replace the characters with nothing, leave this box blank), and then tab to the Find (Alt+F) or Find All (Alt+I) button. To find the next occurrence in the worksheet so that you can decide whether to replace it, press the Find button. To find all occurrences, press the Find All button. To replace the highlighted occurrence or all occurrences of the found characters, tab to the Replace (Alt+R) or Replace All (Alt+A) button.

      Tip: If the Replace with box is not available, to move to the Replace tab on the Find and Replace dialog box, press Alt+P.

      If needed, to cancel a search in progress, press Esc. The Find and Replace dialog box closes.

    Note: When you define formatting options as part of your search criteria, this 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 options from the previous search. To open the Find tab in the Find and Replace dialog box, press Ctrl+F. If the Format button is not available, tab to the Options button (Alt+T) and press Enter. Tab to the Format button and, to select the Clear Find Format command, press the Down Arrow key several times. Press Enter.

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

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

Use Excel 2016 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 2016 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 2016 for Mac

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Excel 2016 for Mac

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

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

Notes: 

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

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

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 could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • 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

Learn how to navigate in Excel using accessible features

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 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

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.

Expand your Office skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×