How to Search a Cell Range for a Matching Value in Excel VBA

Updated February 21, 2017

Microsoft Excel is spreadsheet software that can contain a vast amount of data: up to one billion cells of information per spreadsheet. While this can be invaluable if you need to input large data sets, it can make it quite a challenge if you are looking for a particular piece of information in a worksheet. Excel Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) can find that cell match in a split second.

Open the worksheet in which you want to find a match. Press the "Alt" and "F11" keys together. This opens the Visual Basic Editor (VBE).

Click "Insert" and then click "Module." This inserts a blank module window.

Copy and paste the following code into the blank window:

Sub Find_First()

Dim FindString As String

Dim Rng As Range

FindString = InputBox("Enter a Search value")

If Trim(FindString) <> "" Then

With Sheets("Sheet1").Range("A1:Z256")

Set Rng = .Find(What:=FindString, _

After:=.Cells(.Cells.Count), _

LookIn:=xlValues, _

LookAt:=xlWhole, _

SearchOrder:=xlByRows, _

SearchDirection:=xlNext, _


If Not Rng Is Nothing Then

Application.Goto Rng, True


MsgBox "Nothing found"

End If

End With

End If

End Sub

Change the "Range" in the code to the cell range in which you want to look for a match. For example, if you want to look in cells C1:C1000, type "C1:C1000" in place of "A1:Z256."

Press "F5," then type the string of text or data you want to find into the text box. Excel will find the match and highlight the cell.


Press the "Alt" and "F11" keys at any time to toggle between the VBE and the worksheet.

Things You'll Need

  • Excel 2007 or Excel 2010
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About the Author

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.