How to Search a Google Sheet: Expert Tips and Tricks

Searching a Google Sheet is a breeze once you know where to look. Whether you’re hunting for a particular word, phrase, or set of numbers, Google Sheets offers a straightforward search function to help you find what you need quickly. Let’s dive into the steps that will have you searching like a pro in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Search a Google Sheet

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand that the following steps will guide you through using the ‘Find and replace’ feature in Google Sheets, which is the primary method for searching within your spreadsheet.

Step 1: Open your Google Sheet

Open the Google Sheet you want to search through.

When you have your Google Sheet open, make sure you’re on the correct tab if your sheet has multiple tabs. This will ensure you’re searching in the right place.

Step 2: Access the ‘Find and replace’ dialog box

Press Ctrl + H (Cmd + H on Mac) or go to Edit > Find and replace in the menu.

This will bring up the ‘Find and replace’ dialog box, which is where you will input the data you’re searching for.

Step 3: Enter your search term

Type the word, phrase, or number you want to find in the ‘Find’ field.

Be as specific as possible to narrow down your search results. If you’re looking for an exact match, make sure to check the ‘Match case’ option.

Step 4: Start the search

Click ‘Find’ to start your search or ‘Find & Replace’ if you want to replace the term.

Once you click ‘Find’, Google Sheets will highlight the first instance of your search term. You can then use the ‘Find again’ button to move to the next instance.

Step 5: (Optional) Replace the term

If needed, enter the new term in the ‘Replace with’ field and click ‘Replace’ or ‘Replace all’.

Using ‘Replace’ will change the highlighted instance only, while ‘Replace all’ will change every instance of the term in your sheet.

After you complete the search or replace action, you’ll be able to quickly locate and identify the information you were looking for in your Google Sheet. If you’ve used the ‘Replace’ feature, your sheet will now reflect the updated data.

Tips for Searching a Google Sheet

  • Use the ‘Match case’ option if you’re looking for something case-sensitive.
  • Use the ‘Match entire cell contents’ option if you want to find cells that only contain your search term.
  • Remember that searching is not limited to text; you can search for numbers and dates too.
  • If your search term is not found, double-check for typos or consider broadening your search criteria.
  • Take advantage of the ‘Find and replace’ feature to clean up data, such as removing extra spaces or correcting spelling errors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I search across multiple tabs in a Google Sheet?

Yes, you can. In the ‘Find and replace’ dialog box, there is an option called ‘Search using sheet’. Simply change it to ‘All sheets’ to expand your search across the entire document.

Is it possible to search for formulas?

Absolutely. If you’re looking to find particular formulas, you can do so by typing the formula in the ‘Find’ field. Remember, you need to include the equals sign (=) at the beginning.

How do I search for a specific value in a column or row?

To focus your search on a single column or row, first select that column or row. Then, open the ‘Find and replace’ dialog box, and your search will be limited to your selection.

Can I use wildcards when searching in Google Sheets?

Google Sheets doesn’t support traditional wildcards like ‘*’ or ‘?’. However, you can use regular expressions by ticking the ‘Search using regular expressions’ checkbox in the ‘Find and replace’ dialog box.

Is there a shortcut to repeat my last search?

Yes, after you’ve completed a search, you can quickly repeat it by pressing Ctrl + G (Cmd + G on Mac) to find the next occurrence of your last search term.


  1. Open your Google Sheet
  2. Access the ‘Find and replace’ dialog box
  3. Enter your search term
  4. Start the search
  5. (Optional) Replace the term


Mastering the search function in Google Sheets can save you an abundance of time and hassle, especially when working with large datasets. While the steps outlined above are pretty straightforward, don’t underestimate the power of the ‘Find and replace’ feature. It’s not just about locating data; it’s also an excellent tool for data cleaning and management. So, the next time you find yourself lost in a sea of cells and data, remember these simple steps to search a Google Sheet. Keep practicing, and you’ll be an Excel wizard in no time!

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy