Searching for the Right File

It happens to everyone at one time or another?you navigate to what you think is the correct folder, but you can't find a particular file. Or you know that you saved a file, but just can't remember the exact name. If you can't locate a file, don't fret. Excel can help you find what you're looking for.

The File Search feature helps you search for files saved on your local hard drive or a network drive. You can search for a file by the filename or type, or by data within the file or the file properties.

Using File Search to locate files requires a little preparation. Table 4.1 shows you search tips that help you locate the files you need.

Table 4.1. Search Tips

If You're Looking For



A phrase

" "

"Awards for the First Quarter"

One character


Thomas Ega?

Multiple characters


Sales Fig*

One or another word


Sales, Awards

One word with another word


Sales & Awards

Does not contain


Awards ? Premiums

In the next To Do exercise, you search for the Budget file you created during Hour 2, "Entering Data." If Excel isn't already open and visible on your computer screen, open the program before you begin the exercise.

To Do: Find a File with the Basic Search Task Pane

  1. Close the Sales 1st Qtr file.

  2. Choose File, File Search. The Basic File Search task pane appears on the right side of the workbook window (see Figure 4.5).

    Figure 4.5. The Basic File Search task pane for finding an existing file.


  3. In the Search Text box, type Sales 1st Qtr.

    In the Other Search Options area, you can specify a location and a file type.

  4. Click Search. Excel looks through the drives and folders on My Computer, by default. In a moment, the results of the search are displayed in the Search Results task pane.

    To stop the search, click Stop at the bottom of the task pane. To modify your search criteria, click Modify.

  5. Point to the Sales 1st Qtr file and click. The Sales 1st Qtr file you worked on previously appears on your screen.

  6. (Optional) To create a new workbook based on a file in the Search Results list, point to the file in the list, click the down arrow, and choose New From This File. On the menu, you can also copy a link to the Clipboard and view the properties of the file.


At the bottom of the Basic File Search task pane, you can click Find In This Document to display the Find and Replace dialog box and search for text in the current workbook.

    Part I: Excel Basics