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I'm using Excel 2010 and have a number of cells that contain *10^9 e.g. 5*10^9, 3.4*10^9 and need to remove the *10^9. Given that there is about 50000 entries I don't particularly want to do it manually but I'm not very saavy with excel and am not sure how to do this. I tried using the find and replace function however when I did this it removed the entire cell content where as I want to keep the number preceeding the *10^9. I'm sure there must be a way to do this but I don't know how! Any ideas or tips? Helllpp!


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What was the replace arguments? Did you set the replace it with the rest of the number instead? – Arjang May 11 '12 at 1:00

When you use an asterisk * in an Excel find, it means "match any sequence of characters". So


means match the entire cell up to *10^9. So when you replace, it replaces everything.

To mean a literal * you need to escape it with an tilde:


This means match the part of the cell starting containing only *10^9. You can then leave the replace field blank and it will remove this from the cells.

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+1 We posted the same answer at the same time, but I like your explanation a lot better [deleted!]. Here's some more info from Microsoft on Excel's find&replace:… – iglvzx May 11 '12 at 1:09
Thank-you so much you saved me alot of unneccesary agitation! – Natalie May 11 '12 at 1:24

The problem is the * character, which is treated as a wildcard. To stop this from happening, precede it by the ~ character.

In other words, search for "~*10^9" and replace with nul

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