How to Search in Google Sheets – Lifewire

Google sheets

What to Know

  • Press Ctrl + F on Windows or Command + F on Mac and enter your search term.
  • Or, select Edit > Find and Replace from the menu and enter your search term.

This article explains different ways to open the Find tool and search in Google Sheets. We’ll explain how to perform a simple search or add options for advanced searching. You can look for items in a certain cell range, the active sheet, or the entire workbook.

Perform a Quick Search in Google Sheets

When you want to find text, a number, or a date in your current sheet, you can perform a quick search in Google Sheets using the keyboard.

  1. Use Ctrl+F on Windows or Command+F on Mac on open the search tool.

  2. When the small search box appears on the top right, enter the search term in the Find in sheet box.

  3. Press Enter or Return to begin your search.

  4. You’ll see the number of instances found for your search term in the search box. Use the arrows on the right side to move to each result. You’ll then see each result highlighted in your sheet.

  5. When you finish, use the X on the right side to close the search box.

Use an Advanced Search in Google Sheets

Maybe you need to do more than a simple search in Google Sheets. You might want to look within formulas, find an exact match, or look in the entire workbook. This is when an advanced search using the Find and Replace tool is the way to go.

  1. To open the search tool, do one of the following:

    • Press Ctrl+F on Windows or Command+F on Mac. Then, select the three dots for More Options on the right side of the box.
    • Select Edit > Find and Replace from the menu.
    • Open the Help tab, type “Find” into the search box, and choose Find and replace from the results.

  2. When the Find and Replace window opens, enter your search term into the Find box.

    If you plan to replace what you find with something else, you can enter it into the Replace with box. Otherwise, leave that field empty.

  3. In the Search section, use the drop-down box to choose where you’d like to search.

    • All sheets: Use this option to search the entire workbook.
    • This sheet: Use this option to search only the current, active sheet.
    • Specific range: Use this option to search within a cell range. Add the range into the box that appears to the right or pick the grid icon and then select the range in the sheet using your cursor.

  4. Next, check the boxes for any additional options you’d like to use in the Search section. Each of these are optional and can be helpful to narrow down your search results.

    • Match case: Use this to perform a case-sensitive search.
    • Match entire cell contents: Use this to find an exact match.
    • Search using regular expressions: Use this to find a pattern match.
    • Also search within formulas: Use this to include formulas in your search.
    • Also search within links: Use this to include links in your search.

  5. When you finish setting up your advanced search, select Find at the bottom.

  6. You’ll then be taken to the first result of the search. You can continue to click the Find button to move to each search result.

    If the tool finds a result in a hidden cell, you’ll see this display at the bottom of the search box. This lets you then unhide that row or column to see the result.

  7. Select Done to close the Find and Replace tool when you finish.


  • How do I find duplicates in Google Sheets?

  • How do I reference data from another sheet in Google Sheets?

  • How do I share Google Sheets?

    To share a spreadsheet in Google Sheets, select Share and enter the emails to share with. Set the user permissions, add a note if you want, and then select Send. To send just the link itself, select Share > Copy Link.

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