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I have a sheet containing thousands of cells in a column. These cell contains names of different securities.

Some names of these securities contains a particular string such as "C/O".

How can I use a formula that will return the rows that have these characters?

S&P 500 C/O 30/03/12 1380  
MICROSOFT C/O 19/05/12 32  
QUICKSILVER C/O 17/03/12 9

There is no consistency (can't use left/right/mid formula).

Requirement : I want the formula which will return "C/O" in the other cell if this particular cell contains it.

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Are you happy to use VBA? – Dave Aug 30 '12 at 11:44

Use conditional formatting option Use a formula to determine which cells to format with the following formula:


Whenever your cell has C/O in it, it will return a value greater than 0, and you can have any formating applied (e.g. change fill color). When C/O is not present, it will remain formatted normally.

Conditional Find 2

Conditional Find

The FIND function looks for C/O and returns it starting point, which is 1 or greater. If C/O is not present it returns a #Value error. So, this uses IFERROR to return 0 for all error conditions (i.e. when C/O is not present).

EDIT: Using a reference cell for your search text (i.e. C/O in cell C1) will allow you to change your search string and highlight other cells based upon that. Note in the conditional formating window, you'll need to use an absolute reference to make sure that regardless of the evaluated cell, it always looks to $C$1. For example, you can have it find S&P:

enter image description here

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And to update this a little more, if you don't hard code "C/O") you can reference an external absolute cell which may make changing the criteria easier. Such as =IFERROR(FIND($D$1,A1),0)>0 – Dave Aug 30 '12 at 11:59
Absolutely, if there's any chance you'll want to find/highlight any other string, you should do as @DaveRook suggests, and basically create a search variable to work from. – dav Aug 30 '12 at 12:01
I've updated the answer based upon @DaveRook's suggestion. – dav Aug 30 '12 at 12:05
Nice,Good solution +1 – Ishikawa Yoshi Aug 30 '12 at 12:43

You can convert file to CSV and use regexp

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But sometimes it's very quick solution – Ishikawa Yoshi Aug 30 '12 at 12:52

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