[Fixed!] Excel Find and Replace Not Working (6 Solutions)

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It’s bothersome if we face problems while using the Find and Replace tool in Excel. Because it’s the most commonly used tool in Excel. This article will cover all the reasons and 6 useful fixes if the Find and Replace tool is not working in Excel. Hope the sharp steps and clear images will give you the proper guidelines.


Excel Find and Replace Not Working: 6 Solutions

To demonstrate the reasons and fixes we’ll use the following dataset that represents the 5 best-nominated movies in the Best Picture category for Oscar Award 2022.


1. Ensure Cell Selection If Find and Replace Is Not Working in Excel

First of all, I’ll introduce the most common mistake while using the Find and Replace tool. See that I have selected only the last three rows from the dataset.

Ensure Cell Selection If Find and Replace Is Not Working in Excel

Then tried to replace Dune with Flee. Pressed Replace All but take a look at the next image to see what happened.

Ensure Cell Selection If Find and Replace Is Not Working in Excel

It’s showing- Excel couldn’t find anything to replace it.

Ensure Cell Selection If Find and Replace Is Not Working in Excel

The reason is the name Dune was not in my selected range. Keep in mind, if you select multiple cells then Excel will find those cells only.

Ensure Cell Selection If Find and Replace Is Not Working in Excel

Solution:

  • Select one cell or none and then apply the Find and Replace tool.

Then it will work properly.

Read More: How to Find and Replace within Selection in Excel


2. Unmark Match Entire Cell Contents If Find and Replace Is Not Working

If you want to find and replace a word of a cell marking with Match Entire Cell Contents then see what happens! I tried to replace the word- Car with Bus in the movie name Drive My Car.

Unmark Match Entire Cell Contents If Find and Replace Is Not Working

You will get the error message. If you mark that option then Excel will only search for the whole content of a cell, partial search won’t work.

Unmark Match Entire Cell Contents If Find and Replace Is Not Working

Solution:

  • Unmark that option before using the Find and Replace tool.

Unmark Match Entire Cell Contents If Find and Replace Is Not Working

Now see that, replaced successfully.


3. Remove Filter If Find and Replace Does Not Work in Excel

If you filter a column before using the Find and Replace tool then Excel will apply the tool only for filtered values, not for all values. See that I filtered the movies that were released in March.

Remove Filter If Find and Replace Does Not Work in Excel

Then tried to find and replace the movie Dune by Flee.

Remove Filter If Find and Replace Does Not Work in Excel

But it showed an error message. Because Dune is not in my filtered list.

Remove Filter If Find and Replace Does Not Work in Excel

Solution:

  • So you must have to mark the Select All option before using the Find and Replace tool.

Read More: Find And Replace Multiple Values in Excel


4. Delete Unwanted Spaces in Excel If Find and Replace Is Not Working

Here, I tried to find and replace the movie Drive My Car with Flee and all the options was rightly selected but again got the error message.

Delete Unwanted Spaces in Excel If Find and Replace Is Not Working

Excel got nothing although the name was in my dataset.

Delete Unwanted Spaces in Excel If Find and Replace Is Not Working

The reason is- there is an extra space between the word ‘My’ and ‘Car’.

Delete Unwanted Spaces in Excel If Find and Replace Is Not Working

Solution:

  • Remove the extra space and then try the Find and Replace tool, Of course, it will work.


5. Unprotect Sheet to Use Find and Replace Tool

If your sheet is protected with a password then you can not change anything also no tool will work too. You will be able to view the sheet just.

To check whether your sheet is protected or not, click as follows: Home > Cells > Format.

If your sheet is protected, it will show Unprotect Sheet.

Unprotect Sheet to Use Find and Replace Tool

Solution:

  • Unprotect your sheet by clicking: Home > Cells > Format > Unprotect Sheet before using the Find and Replace tool.

  • Later, give the password and press OK. Then the tool will work by default.


6. Repair Corrupted Excel Worksheet

Sometimes the Find and Replace tool doesn’t work because the value you are looking for that is missing from the sheet. It may happen because of unexpected data loss, especially for a large dataset.

Solution:

  • There are many Excel data recovery tools available on the internet. Google it, download one of them, and try. Hope you will be able to recover the data.

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the free Excel template from here and practice on your own.


Conclusion

I hope the procedures described above will be good enough to solve the problem when the Find and Replace tool is not working in Excel. Feel free to ask any question in the comment section and please give me feedback.


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Md. Sourov Hossain Mithun
Md. Sourov Hossain Mithun

Md. Sourov Hossain Mithun, an Excel and VBA Content Developer at Softeko's ExcelDemy project, joined in October 2021. Holding a Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering degree from BUET, Mithun showcases expertise during his two-year tenure. With over 200 published articles on Excel topics, he earned a promotion to Team Leader, excelling in leading diverse teams. Mithun's passion extends to Advanced Excel, Excel VBA, Data Analysis, and Python programming, contributing significantly to the innovative and dynamic environment of ExcelDemy... Read Full Bio

2 Comments
  1. hello, i had a microsoft 365 proplus account and i upgraded to microsoft 365 apps for interprise.
    when i used to do find and replace i used to get a message box showing me the number of items that has been replaced.
    it is not showing anymore, can you help on this issue? is there something missing in the settings or needs to be changed?
    i referring to the message box showing in your blog where it says all done, we have made 1 replacement.

    thanks,

    • Hello! Peter Atallah, Thanks for the Query. It sounds like you’re encountering an issue with the “Find and Replace” feature in Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise, where you used to see a message box indicating the number of replacements made, but it’s no longer appearing. Here are a few steps you can try to troubleshoot and resolve this issue:
      1. Check Notification Settings: Make sure that notifications are enabled in your Microsoft Office settings. Sometimes, notifications may have been disabled, which could prevent the message box from appearing.
      2. Update or Repair Office Installation: Ensure that your Microsoft Office installation is up to date. Sometimes, issues can arise due to outdated software. If updating doesn’t work, you could also try repairing your Office installation. To do this, go to “Control Panel” > “Programs and Features,” select Microsoft Office, and choose “Change.” Then, select “Repair” and follow the prompts.
      3. Reset Office Settings: If the issue persists, you can try resetting your Office application settings to their defaults. To do this, open any Office application (e.g., Word), go to “File” > “Options” > “Advanced,” and click the “Reset” button under the “Reset” section. Please note that this will revert all customizations back to their default settings.

      Please feel free to let us know the update after trying these approaches.
      Thanks a ton. Have a good day.
      Regards,
      MD Tanvir Rahman
      Excel and VBA Content Developer
      ExcelDemy, Softeko

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