Excel SEARCH Function

HomeExcel FunctionsExcel SEARCH Function (Example + Sample File)


The Excel SEARCH Function is listed under Microsoft Excel's Text Functions category. It returns a number which is the starting position of a substring in a string. In simple words, with SEARCH function you can search (non-case sensitive) for a text string’s starting position from another string.

How to use it

To learn how to use the SEARCH function in Excel, you need to understand its syntax and arguments: 




  • find_text: A text which you want to find from another text.
  • within_text: A text from which you want to locate the text. You can refer to a cell, or you can input a text in your function.


  • It is not a case-sensitive function and you want to search for a case-sensitive text, use Excel FIND function.
  • You can also use wildcard characters.
  • The start_num should be a number 0 to the max length of the text string from which you want to search your text.


To master the SEARCH function we need to try it out in an example and below is one which you can try out:

In the below example, we are searching for alphabet "P" and we have specified start_num as 1 to start our search. Our formula returns 1 as the position of the text.

But, if you look at the word, we also have a "P" in the 6th position.

That means SEARCH function can only return the position of the first occurrence of a text, or if you specify the start position accordingly.

Related functions

This tutorial is the part of our Excel Functions with Examples (Function Guide) and below are some of the related functions:

About the Author

Puneet Gogia

Puneet is using Excel since his college days. He helped thousands of people to understand the power of the spreadsheets and learn Microsoft Excel. You can find him online, tweeting about Excel, on a running track, or sometimes hiking up a mountain.