When using the Find and Replace function in Excel, Wildcards cannot be found. We must remember that Excel is a spreadsheet program and that means there will be times when it doesn’t work with text in a friendly manner.
Wildcards are characters such as an asterisk (*) or question mark (?).
However, there is a really simple solution.
Upon using the “CTRL + F” key combination to open the “Find and Replace” dialog window (or the “Edit” menu in Excel 2003 or the “Editing” group on the “Home” tab in Excel 2007), you’ll need to use another special character to help Excel recognize the Wildcards.
The tilda (~), located to the left of the number 1 key on most keyboards, helps Excel recognize these Wildcards.
Here’s how you would search for an asterisk.
Press CTRL + F (or one of the other methods of opening the “Find and Replace” dialog window as mentioned above) and in the “Find” field, type “~*.”
See the picture above left for clarification.
Now, when you click the “Find Next” button, the asterisk (or any other Wildcard you need to search) will be found.
It’s that simple. Try it with any other Wildcards that you may need to search.