How To Find Special Characters in Excel

The majority of spreadsheets are crammed with numbers, and some are accompanied by writing. However, if you want to personalize the information in your document and open the door to some interesting potential, you may also incorporate symbols and unique characters. Although the two are almost identical, Excel processes them slightly differently. This post will demonstrate how to find special characters in Excel to assist you.

Insert Symbols

You may use Excel’s built-in Symbol panel to add symbols and special characters to your worksheet. You can employ the “Symbols” option to input both symbols and special characters, although it is the “Symbols” option.

Enter the menu by clicking Insert and then Symbol:


Symbols will appear in your menu bar:

menu bar

Dozens of symbols may be accessed from this location. This may be accomplished by selecting on the desired one and then choosing Insert.

It might be tough to locate what you’re looking for in this enormous collection of symbols. Excel’s Subset drop-down interface organizes the symbols for your convenience.

Subset drop-down

Latin script characters, other languages’ superscripts, subscripts, arcs, notations, encapsulated alphanumeric, geometric patterns, and a lot more are included. Wingdings 2, Wingdings 1, or Webdings may all be selected from the drop-down selection inside the top-left edge of the screen.

Fonts like this include a wide variety of characters. The checkmark, a widely used symbol, may be found by selecting Wingdings and then descending to the bottom.


Special characters such as em-dashes, brand, registered signifiers, proofing marks, and copyright symbols may be found under the Special Characters category.

Technical aspects include non-breaking gaps and embedding from left to right and em and en-spaces.

 non-breaking gaps

Any symbol you select has a matching character code if you browse throughout the list of symbols. It appears at the bottom-right portion of the screen:


Unicode (hexadecimal) and ASCII (decimal) are alternative options for obtaining the character code. As soon as you’ve found a suitable symbol, record its character code and structure. This detail may be used to rapidly locate the symbol in the near term.

Make sure you choose and input the correct character code every time you access the Symbols menu. You may require a greater range of symbols than ASCII can provide in some instances. Therefore, you’ll be unable to locate the ASCII code you require. Copying and pasting is a much superior option.

The only thing you have to do is search a list of symbols, choose the symbol you desire, then paste it into Excel. The easiest way to replicate the structure of your workbook is to utilize Ctrl + Shift + V.

Excel’s Find and Replace Characters 

Press the Ctrl + F key to launch the Excel Find and Replace panel. You may also navigate to the Home menu and find the Editing section. Choose Find from the Find & Select menu. Select Find All or Find Next from the Find What box after typing in the characters you’re searching for in the field.

Clicking Find Next chooses the first instance of the search result on Excel’s sheet; clicking it again selects the second instance; clicking it again selects the third instance, and so forth. A list of all instances is shown when you press the Find All button in Excel, and you may choose a cell by clicking on any of those appearances.

The Replace item of the Excel Find & Replace panel may be used to replace specific characters, words, or values in an Excel spreadsheet. Use Ctrl + H to access the Replace option inside the Find and Replace window in Excel. Alternately, choose the Home tab and then the Editing group. Replace by clicking on Find & Select.

Using the Find what and Replace with boxes, write in the values you want to search for and the values you want to replace. As a final step, you may either select Replace to update each occurrence or Replace All to update all of the entries at once.

Employ the tilde character (~) to locate asterisks and question signs in your Excel spreadsheet. Using the Find what field, for instance, you might enter ~* to discover cells with asterisks. Use ~? as your search criteria to find cells containing question marks.

Here’s an instance of how to replace all of the ?s (question marks) on a spreadsheet with the digit 1.

how to find special characters in Excel

As seen above, Excel can locate and substitute characters in both textual and numbers.

Read More:

Find and Replace Excel Shortcuts

Using Excel’s Find and Replace capabilities, you may either use the ribbon controls or keyboard shortcuts. This section contains an overview of everything you’ve previously learned as well as some additional shortcuts that can help you save time.

  • Ctrl+F – Microsoft Excel Find links to the Find & Replace window’s Find option.
  • Ctrl+H – Use this key combination to access the Replace option in Find & Replace.
  • You may retrieve the prior incidence of a search result by pressing Ctrl+Shift+F4.
  • If you want to locate the next time the search value appears, press Shift+F4.


As shown above, using Excel’s built-in symbols and special characters isn’t that challenging. With any luck, this guide on how to find special characters in Excel may be useful.

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