You can use the **FIND **function in Excel to find the position of the first occurrence of a specific character in a string.

However, sometimes you may wish to use the **FIND **function to search for the first occurrence of one of several characters in a string.

You can use the following formula to do so:

=FIND("a",SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A2,"b","a"),"c","a"))

This particular formula searches cell **A2** and returns the position of the first occurrence of any of the following characters:

**a****b****c**

If none of these characters is found in cell **A2**, then the formula returns **#VALUE!** as a result.

The following example shows how to use this formula in practice.

**Example: How to Use FIND Function with Multiple Criteria in Excel**

Suppose we have the following list of basketball team names in Excel:

Now suppose we would like to find the position of the first occurrence of either an **a**, **b**, or **c** in each team name.

We can type the following formula into cell **B2** to do so:

=FIND("a",SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A2,"b","a"),"c","a"))

We can then click and drag this formula down to each remaining cell in column B:

Column B displays the position of the first occurrence of either an **a**, **b**, or **c** in each team name.

For example:

- The first position of an a, b, or c in M
**a**vericks is in position**2**. - The first position of an a, b, or c in C
**a**vs is in position**2**. - The first position of an a, b, or c in Celti
**c**s is in position**6**.

Note that the **FIND** function is case-sensitive.

**How This Formula Works**

Recall the formula that we used to find the position of the first occurrence of either an **a**, **b**, or **c** in cell **A2**:

=FIND("a",SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A2,"b","a"),"c","a"))

Here is how this formula works:

First, we use the **SUBSTITUTE** function to substitute the occurrence of each **b** in cell **A2** with an **a** instead.

Then we use another **SUBSTITUTE** function to substitute the occurrence of each **c** in cell **A2** with an **a** instead.

Lastly, we use the **FIND** function to simply find the position of the first occurrence of an a in cell **A2**, which is now equivalent to finding the position of the first occurrence of **a**, **b**, or **c**.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

Excel: Use SEARCH Function to Search Multiple Values

Excel: How to Use LEFT Until Specific Character

Excel: How to Use MID Function to End of String