The Excel Skinny

A blog about Excel and its users

A few months ago we learned how to display the Find Dialog Box and search for text in your Excel workbook

Today you’ll learn the shortcut that repeats the last Find action without opening up the Find Dialog Box.  This shortcut saves you time and keeps you in your workbook.  It’s especially useful when you are fine tuning and editing a bunch of data.  

Example: You’ve just followed the “How to find things in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet” blog post and the last thing you searched for was your name.  The search comes up empty and you continue with your work.  At the end of your work session you want to search one more time for your name, just to ensure it is nowhere to be found in your workbook.  Instead of opening up the Find Dialog Box all you have to do is execute a one-modifier key shortcut.

The Find Next shortcut: 


As you keep executing the shortcut Excel keeps cycling through the workbook to find all instances of the last searched text.  If there are no instances of the last searched text this dialog box will pop up telling you so.  

And there you have it.  The simple Find Next shortcut that can save you time by not opening the Find dialog box, and by not having to type what you are searching for over again.  

Displaying the "Find" Dialog Box

For those of you who don’t know this shortcut…you are about to learn a staple in the shortcut world.   Quickly displaying the Find Dialog box will save you those precious seconds of finding the option in your toolbar or menu, and now when your boss asks you if invoice #1245 has been paid you don’t have to scroll through your whole spreadsheet searching franticly for it.

Step 1: The only real requirement of this shortcut is that there is something to find in your Excel spreadsheet, meaning there is data somewhere.  You can tweak the search by highlighting specific rows or cells you wish to search in, or execute the shortcut with without highlighting anything to search the entire spreadsheet.

Step 2: Execute shortcut:



And this pops up:


Type in the “Find what:” box the data you are searching for.  I recommend keeping the options at their default settings but you can mess around with those if you’d like.  

I searched Display the Find Dialog Box and clicked “Find Next”.  This scrolled me to the cell with Display the Find Dialog box in it.  


This is an invaluable tool when looking for data in a large spreadsheet.  No one wants to scroll through a sea of data searching for that one cell, let the “command” + “F” shortcut do it for you!