How to Find * Character Not as Wildcard in Excel (2 Methods)

The wildcard is a special character that helps us to match texts in Excel. This is a very handy tool. Excel has three characters as wildcards to use in formulas: Asterisk (*), Question mark (?), and Tilde(~). While using Excel, performing  Find or Replace for these characters can be a problematic task. Here, we will use a sample data set containing Asterisk (*) and will see a couple of methods for Excel to find * character not wildcard.

excel find * character not wildcard

How to Find * Character Not as Wildcard in Excel: 2 Easy Methods

In this article, we will see two simple methods to find asterisks in Excel. First of all, press CTRL+F and type asterisk (*) in the search box.

When we click Find Next, we will see nothing is happening. So, how to resolve this issue. Let’s see.

Method 1:  Find * Character Not as Wildcard Using Find and Replace

In our first, method, we will see the use of the Find and Replace option available in Excel.


  • First, press CTRL+F, and a dialogue box will pop up.

Find Asterisk in Excel 1 find and replace

  • After that, type ~* in the Find what: search box, and click Find All.

excel find * character not wildcard using find and replace

As you can see, all 6 results are displayed here.
In Excel, the tilde is a special character that allows us to escape other special characters. For example, * in Excel search matches any amount of characters, but ~* matches a literal *.

Read More: How to Find Character in Excel String

Method 2:  Find * Character Using Filter Option

Another method we can use is the Excel Filter option. In the second method, we will see how the Filter option finds the asterisk (*) character as a search value not as the conventionally considered wildcard.


  • First, select the entire data range, and go to the Data tab, and Select Filter or simply press the shortcut key; CTRL+SHIFT+L.

Find Asterisk in Excel by filter

  • Now, type ~* in the search box (as we’ve mentioned earlier the Tilde sign ahead of any special characters makes Excel execute an operation for that character) as shown in the image below.

excel find asterisk not wildcard

  • Finally, click OK.

Find Asterisk in Excel using Filter Data

That’s it. We have found the values with asterisk characters, here asterisk (*) plays as a search value rather than a wildcard character.

Read More: Excel Find Last Occurrence of Character in String


Using Tilde (~) before any wild card will do the finding of special characters in Excel. For example, if we want to find Tilde, we will type (~~) in the methods above.

Practice Section

The single most crucial aspect in becoming accustomed to these quick approaches is practice. As a result, we’ve attached a practice workbook where you may practice these methods.

excel find * character not as wildcard

Download Practice Workbook


That’s all for today’s article. These are 2 different methods for Excel to Find * Character Not Wildcard in Excel. Based on your preferences, you may choose the best alternative. Please leave them in the comments area if you have any questions or feedback.

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Mahbubur Rahman
Mahbubur Rahman

MAHBUBUR RAHMAN is a leather engineer with a talent for Excel and a passion for VBA programming. To him, programming is like a time-saving wizard, making data manipulation, file handling, and internet interactions a breeze. His skill set extends to SPSS, STATA, Deep Neural Networks, and Machine Learning. Holding a B.Sc in Leather Engineering from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology, he's shifted to become a content developer. In this role, he crafts technical content centred around Excel... Read Full Bio

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