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SEARCH, SEARCHB function

Description

The SEARCH, SEARCHB Functions locate one text string within a second text string, and return the number of the starting position of the first text string from the first character of the second text string.

What is the difference between SEARCH and SEARCHB?

The SEARCH function is intended for use with languages that use the single-byte character set (SBCS), whereas the SEARCHB function is intended for use with languages that use the double-byte character set (DBCS). The default language setting on your computer affects the return value in the following way:

  • SEARCH always counts each character, whether single-byte or double-byte, as 1, no matter what the default language setting is.
  • SEARCHB counts each double-byte character as 2 when you have enabled the editing of a language that supports DBCS and then set it as the default language. Otherwise, SEARCHB counts each character as 1.

The languages that support DBCS include Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Korean, and Japanese.

Syntax

SEARCH(find_text, within_text, [start_num])

SEARCHB(find_text, within_text, [start_num])

Parameters

Find_text Required. The text you want to find.
Within_text Required. The text in which you want to search for the value of the find_text argument.
Start_num Optional. The character number in the within_text argument at which you want to start searching.

Remarks

  • The SEARCH and SEARCHB functions are not case sensitive. If you want to do a case sensitive search, you can use FIND, FINDB function.
  • You can use the wildcard characters — the question mark (?) and asterisk (*) — in the find_text argument. A question mark matches any single character; an asterisk matches any sequence of characters. If you want to find an actual question mark or asterisk, type a tilde (~) before the character.
  • If the value of find_text is not found, the #VALUE! error value is returned.
  • If the start_num argument is omitted, it is assumed to be 1.
  • If start_num is not greater than 0 (zero), the #VALUE! error value is returned.
  • If start_num is greater than the length of the within_text argument, the #VALUE! error value is returned.
  • Use start_num to skip a specified number of characters. Using the SEARCH function as an example, suppose you are working with the text string "AYF0093.YoungMensApparel". To find the position of the first "Y" in the descriptive part of the text string, set start_num equal to 8 so that the serial number portion of the text (in this case, "AYF0093") is not searched. The SEARCH function starts the search operation at the eighth character position, finds the character that is specified in the find_text argument at the next position, and returns the number 9. The SEARCH function always returns the number of characters from the start of the within_text argument, counting the characters you skip if the start_num argument is greater than 1.

Examples

Example 1: SEARCH

The example may be easier to understand if you copy the example data (include header) in the following table, and paste it in cell A1 of a new Excel worksheet. If you need to, you can adjust the column widths to see all the data.

Data Formula Result Description
Google Glass =SEARCH("G",A2) 1 Position of the first "G" in the string above, not case sensitive.
Google Glass =SEARCH("g",A3) 1 Position of the first "g" in the string above, not case sensitive.
Google Glass =SEARCH("G",A4,3) 4 Position of the first "G" in the string above, starting with the third character.
Google Glass =SEARCH("",A5,3) 3 find_text is "" (empty text) and have start_num, returns start_num.
Google Glass =SEARCH("",A6) 1 find_text is "" (empty text), return 1.
Google Glass =SEARCH("X",A7) #VALUE! find_text does not appear in within_text.
Google Glass =SEARCH("g",A8,-3) #VALUE! start_num is not greater than zero.
Google Glass =SEARCH("G",A9,13) #VALUE! start_num is greater than the length of within_text (12).

Example 2: SEARCHB

=SEARCHB("国","中国香港")

The SEARCHB function returns 3 because each character is counted by its bytes; the first character has 2 bytes, so the second character begins at byte 3.

=SEARCH("国","中国香港")

SEARCH returns 2 because " " is in the second position within the string. SEARCH returns 2 regardless of the default language setting on your computer.

Separate first name from last name

You can use the SEARCH function to separate the first and last names.

The example may be easier to understand if you copy the example data (include header) in the following table, and paste it in cell A1 of a new Excel worksheet. If you need to, you can adjust the column widths to see all the data.

Name Formula First Name
Dwayne Johnson =LEFT(A2,SEARCH(" ",A2)-1) Dwayne
Taylor Swift =LEFT(A3,SEARCH(" ",A3)-1) Taylor
Leonardo DiCaprio =LEFT(A4,SEARCH(" ",A4)-1) Leonardo
Vin Diesel =MID(A5,1,SEARCH(" ",A5)-1) Vin
Kobe Bryant =MID(A6,1,SEARCH(" ",A6)-1) Kobe

The SEARCH function can be used to determine the space between the parts of the text string.

First, the SEARCH function returns the position of the space character inside a Name.

Next, the LEFT or MID function returns the first name.

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