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What it Does: The SEARCH() function in excel locates the position of a string inside of a cell. When searching for text strings, this function is NOT CASE SENSITIVE.

A good way to think of it is the cousin of the FIND() function, which is case sensitive

Arguments: SEARCH(VALUE,CELL,[Start Num])

  • VALUE – The value you want to search for, whether Text (case sensitive), Boolean, or Number.
  • CELL – The cell you’re searching in
  • [Start Number]  – Optional – If you’d like to start a certain part of the string, enter a value here.


At what point in the text string “San Francisco” does the “F” appear?

search function

Here we can see that “F” is the fifth character within the string “San Francisco”. Let’s try this with a lower case “f”

search function

We get the same result because this function is not case sensitive. Depending on what type of data set you’re working with, you may need to switch between this and the FIND() function.