Both the **SEARCH** function and **FIND** function in Excel can be used to find the location of one text string within another, but there are two differences between these functions:

**1.** The **SEARCH** function is not case-sensitive while the **FIND** function is case-sensitive.

**2.** The **SEARCH** function allows wildcard characters while the **FIND** function does not allow wildcard characters.

The following examples illustrate these two differences in practice with the following column of basketball team names in Excel:

**Example 1: The Case-Sensitive Difference**

Suppose we would like to use both **SEARCH** and **FIND** to identify the position of the first “s” in each team name.

We will type the following formulas into cells **B2** and **C2**:

- B2:
**=SEARCH(“s”, A2)** - C2:
**=FIND(“s”, A2)**

We will then click and drag these formulas down to each remaining cell in columns B and C:

The **SEARCH** function is not case-sensitive, so it simply finds the position of the first “s” in each team name regardless of case. This is why it returns **1** for **Spurs**.

However, the **FIND** function is case-sensitive, so it finds the position of the first lowercase “s” in each team name. This is why it returns **5** for **Spurs**.

**Example 2: The Wildcard Character Difference**

Suppose we would like to use both **SEARCH** and **FIND** to identify the position of the first substring “rs” in each team name where any character can come before this particular substring.

We will type the following formulas into cells **B2** and **C2**:

- B2:
**=SEARCH(“?rs”, A2)** - C2:
**=FIND(“?rs”, A2)**

We will then click and drag these formulas down to each remaining cell in columns B and C:

The **SEARCH** function allows wildcard characters, so it is able to find the position of the first occurrence of “rs” in each team name in which any character is allowed to come before “rs” due to using the **?** wildcard.

However, the **FIND** function does not allow wildcard characters. This is why it returns** #VALUE!** for each row in column B.

**Additional Resources**

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

Excel: How to Use SEARCH Function to Search Multiple Values

Excel: How to Use FIND Function with Multiple Criteria

Excel: How to Find First Number in Text String