Difference between Excel Search and Find Function

The Find and Search functions seem to be identical by nature of their name. But they can be distinguished, by nature of their use for using Microsoft Excel problems. Below are the basic definition and difference between these two.

Let’s start with their basic definitions and their syntax:

Find function is used to query a certain sub-string or character within a stream of string and text.

The syntax used for querying a string with find function is as below

Syntax: =FIND(find_text, within_text,[start_num])

But the Search Function is used to getting the initial character of a sub-string or text in a string.

Syntax for the SEARCH function can be described as mentioned below: 

Syntax: =SEARCH(find_text, within_text,[start_num])
Find Difference and Search Difference

SO, the words that can bother us here are find_text, within_text, and start_num. They are used in the syntax of FIND and SEARCH function. Right?

Find_text: Find_text is the string or character we want to find. We find this within a string or stream of characters.

Within_text: Real_text notation is used for the string. The string from which we want to query a sub-string.

Start_num: Position is a numerical value that gives a starting point to begin the search. It must be greater than or equal to 1 and less than the actual length of the Real_text.

An interesting fact about the start_num is this. It is not necessary to mention the position for the text in the string. It is an optional argument and depends on the user to mention it or not. But, if you mention it. It will start searching the string from left till its end.

While querying strings and stream of test for these functions, mistakes are possible. Follow the tips mentioned below to avoid these:

Find Function:

Use the Find function for an exact search of text.

While using Find function take care the sensitivity of the characters. This is because it is a case sensitive function.

The usage of Find function doesn’t allow WildCard characters.

Search Function:

The search function doesn’t differentiate between upper and lower case letters. During a search.

This function allows the usage of WildCard characters e.g. “*”, “$”.

This function is not case sensitive.
Finds FunctionFinds Function

TIP 1: Find function is used for exact search of text.

TIP 2: When using Find function take care the sensitivity of the characters. Find function is a case-sensitive function.
The usage of Find function doesn’t allow WildCard characters

TIP 3: The usage of Find function doesn’t allow WildCard characters.
Search Function

Search Function

TIP 1: Upper-case and lower-case letters are not differentiated by the Search function. Even during a search.
search wild cards tip2

TIP 2: As being a versatile function this function allows the usage of WildCard characters e.g. “*”, “$”.

Why are WildCard characters used?

Use Special character “*” while querying a stream of zero. Also for many matching characters or text.

BUT use “?” symbol for matching a particular character.
This function is not case sensitive

TIP 3: This function is not case sensitive.

So, from this tutorial, we saw that familiar looking things are not always same!

We can differentiate between Find and Search Functions.


Let’s have fun practicing our new found knowledge.

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