We can use the excel FIND FUNCTION to locate the position of a specific character or substring within a text string in an Excel sheet. The FIND function returns a #VALUE! error if the substring is not found. The steps below will walk through the process.

Figure 1: How to Use the Excel FIND Function


=FIND(find-text, within-text, [start-num])

  • Start-num- This is optional and it specifies the character where the search begins. When omitted, the search begins from the first character of the within-text string.



Setting up the Data

  • We will set up the data by inputting the TEXT into Column B
  • Column C is where we want the formula to return the result

Figure 2: Setting up the Data

Using the Excel FIND Function

We intend to use the FIND function to locate the position of the word “my” in the text values of Column B

  • We will click on Cell C4
  • We will insert the formula below into the cell
  • We will press the enter key

Figure 3: #VALUE error returned by the FIND function for Cell B4

  • We will click on Cell C4 again
  • We will double-click on the fill handle (the small plus sign at the bottom right of Cell C4) and drag down to copy the formula into the other cells

Figure 4: Result of the FIND function


  • The FIND function is case sensitive. This is why Cell B4 and Cell B9 returns the #Value! error
  • The FIND function does not allow the use of wildcard characters
  • The FIND function returns the first character in the search string if the find-text is an empty string