To replace a string of text, numbers, or symbols, Microsoft Excel offers a function called
SUBSTITUTE. This function replaces the specified string with your choice of string. We’ll show you how to use it in your spreadsheets.
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What to Know When Using the SUBSTITUTE Function
When you use the
SUBSTITUTE function, know that it’s case-sensitive and so you’ll have to use it accordingly. Also, you can’t specify wildcard entries in the function. You can use the function with your hard-coded values as well as cell references.
The function even lets you choose the instances of your specified string to change. This way, if you only want to change the first occurrence of a string, you can do so.
Replace Occurrences of a String Using SUBSTITUTE in Excel
To start using the function, open your spreadsheet with Microsoft Excel.
In the spreadsheet, select the cell in which you want to display the result. In the below example, we’ll replace
In your selected cell, type the following function and press Enter.
In this function:
- B2: It’s the cell with the content that you want to replace.
- HTG: This is the original string that you want to find and replace with the new string.
- How-To Geek: This is the new string that will replace the old string.
You’ll see that the function has replaced the values as defined in the arguments.
Another scenario where you may want to use this function is when you want to change the country code for phone numbers. For example, if you have a list of phone numbers containing
+91 as the country code, you can use the
SUBSTITUTE function to make all these phone numbers use
+1 as the country code.
To do so, use the
SUBSTITUTE function with the following arguments:
As you can see, in the above function, we’ve specified
1 at the end. This tells the function to only change the first occurrence of
1. If the remaining numbers in a phone number contain
91, the function won’t change that. This helps you avoid ending up with incorrect phone numbers.
And that’s how you use Excel’s
SUBSTITUTE function to change various strings in your spreadsheets.
Another way to change your spreadsheet’s contents is by using Excel’s find and replace feature. Check out our guide on that if you’re interested.