# Cell contains specific text

Today’s tutorial will show you how to find if a cell contains specific text using the ISNUMBER and SEARCH functions.

If you are working with string manipulation functions in Excel, it can be useful if you want to identify a substring in a text string. This guide will show three methods to perform the task. You can use built-in Excel functions and conditional formatting.

## How to find if a cell contains a specific text in Excel?

Generic formula to find if a cell contains a specific part of the arbitrary text:

``=ISNUMBER(SEARCH(substring, text))``

Arguments:

• substring = the text that we find
• text = cell reference

We want to find a substring in a cell or string; the text is the variable we are looking for.

In the example, the formula in F3 is the following:

``=ISNUMBER(SEARCH(D3,B3))``

The formula has multiple (in this case, two) outputs: If the substring exists in the given string, we’ll get TRUE. If the substring is not available, the result is FALSE.

Note: Don’t forget that you’ll get partial matches using the SEARCH function.

### How to use the formula

First, the SEARCH function locates the position of the search string when found. If the cell does not contain specific text, the result is #VALUE! Error.

The ISNUMBER function helps us to get the proper numeric position. Let’s see the two possible cases:

ISNUMBER returns:

• TRUE for numbers
• FALSE for other cell types

If the cell contains specific text, the SEARCH function locates the given substring, then returns the proper position as a value (number). In this case, the ISNUMBER gets a TRUE result.

Otherwise – if the cell does not contain specific text – SEARCH returns a #VALUE! Error, therefore, the ISNUMBER returns FALSE.

### Case-sensitive formula using the FIND function

If you use a simple IF function, the result is TRUE or FALSE.

``=IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH(substring,text)))``

Add a third function to the formula to create a more user-friendly output when a cell contains specific text.

``````=IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH(substring,text)), "Found", "Not found")

Instead of returning TRUE or FALSE, the formula above will return a more friendly output. The result is “Found” if a substring is found elsewhere, “Not found“.

## How to highlight a row that contains specific text

If you want to highlight cells in a range that contain specific text, the fastest way is to use conditional formatting.

Steps to highlighting the matching cells:

1. Select the range which contains text
2. Go to the Home tab and click Conditional formatting
3. Choose “Highlight Cells Rules” > “Text that contains….” Option
4. Choose your preferred formatting style and click OK

The result is the same as the examples mentioned above.

Related formulas and functions: Istvan Vozar

Istvan is the co-founder of Visual Analytics. He helps people reach the top in Excel.