How to Search a Name in Excel : 3 Simple Methods

August 17, 2023 3.8K views

Excel, a faithful ally in our daily endeavors, offers a plethora of functions to ease our data handling. Yet, a common hurdle persists - effortlessly searching for specific information within its vast tables. In this article, we unravel the secret to this feat. Embrace this revelation and conquer Excel with ease.

Part 1. Shortcut to Search Name: “Ctrl + F”

Searching for a Name in Multiple Columns

To search for a name in multiple columns using the "Ctrl + F" shortcut in Excel, follow these steps:

Step 1 Open the Excel workbook containing the data you want to search.

Step 2 Press "Ctrl + F" on your keyboard to open the "Find and Replace" dialog box.

Step 3 In the "Find what" field, enter the name you want to search for.

Step 4 Click on the "Options" button to expand additional search options.

Step 5 Ensure the "Within" dropdown is set to "Sheet" to search within the entire worksheet.

Step 6 Click on the "Find All" button to see all the instances of the name in the worksheet.

Searching for a Name in a Single Column

To search for a name in a single column using the "Ctrl + F" shortcut in Excel, follow these steps:

Step 1 Open the Excel workbook containing the data you want to search.

Step 2 Select the column where you want to search for the name. You can do this by clicking on the column header.

Step 3 Press "Ctrl + F" on your keyboard to open the "Find and Replace" dialog box.

Step 4 In the "Find what" field, enter the name you want to search for.

Step 5 Press the "Find All" button.

Part 2: Using Conditional Formatting for Name Searches

To use Conditional Formatting for name searches, follow these steps:

Step 1 Select the range of cells or the entire column where you want to search for the name.

Step 2 Go to the "Home" tab in the Excel ribbon.

Step 3 Click on "Conditional Formatting" in the "Styles" group.

Step 4 Step 4 Select "Highlight Cells Rules" from the dropdown menu, followed by "Text that Contains..."

Step 5 In the next dialog box, enter the name you want to search for in the "Format cells that contain the text" field.

Step 6 Choose the formatting style you desire to highlight the name's occurrences, such as font color, fill color, or cell border.

Step 7 Click "OK" to apply the Conditional Formatting.

Recommend WPS Spreadsheet
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Same Excel Formula as Microsoft. Perfectly compatible with MS format.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

5,820,008 User
Algirdas Jasaitis

Part 3: Name Searching with Formula: Vlookup Function

The VLOOKUP function in Excel offers a powerful and efficient way to search for names or specific data within a dataset.

Here's the syntax of the function:

=VLOOKUP([lookup_value], [table_array], [col_index_num], [range_lookup])

  • [lookup_value]: The value to find in the leftmost column of the table.

  • [table_array]: The range of cells representing the data table.

  • [col_index_num]: The column number to retrieve data from in the table.

  • [range_lookup]: Optional parameter for the type of match (exact or approximate).

Step 1 Open a new cell where you want the search results to appear.

Enter the VLOOKUP formula: =VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_range, column_index, [range_lookup]).

Step 2 Replace "lookup_value" with the name you want to find, "table_range" with the range of your data table, and "column_index" with the column number where the associated data is located.

Let's take a look at how you might use this. This spreadsheet contains product's names, index, status. Let's say you want to find index for the product with the name "PDF"

Step 3 Press Enter to apply the formula.

It returned 1, which is the status of the pdf we required.

Part 4: A Free Alternative Choice to Microsoft Office - WPS Office

WPS Office is a free and versatile alternative to Microsoft Office, featuring a user-friendly interface and powerful tools for word processing, data analysis, and presentations. With a built-in PDF reader, cloud integration, and cross-platform support, it offers a reliable and cost-effective solution for all your document needs.


  • Free and open-source: WPS Office is freely available and open-source, allowing for code review and modification.

  • User-friendly interface: Its design is similar to Microsoft Office, making it simple for existing users to transfer.

  • Excellent compatibility: WPS Office supports a large variety of file types, including Microsoft Office formats.

  • Cloud support: Access your documents from anywhere with WPS Office's cloud support.

  • Collaboration tools: Collaborate in real-time with others using the suite's built-in collaboration tools.


1. How Do I Find Hidden Names in Excel?

To find hidden names in Excel, use the "Find and Replace" feature (Ctrl + F). Enter the name you're searching for and check the "Match entire cell contents" option. This ensures hidden names are located accurately.

2. How Do I Handle Case Sensitivity When Searching for Names?

Excel's search is case-sensitive by default. To perform a case-insensitive search, use the "Find and Replace" feature (Ctrl + F), click "Options," and select "Match case" to uncheck it.

3. Why Can't I Find a Name in Excel?

#NAME? is a common Excel error notation that appears when a formula or function is unable to locate the referenced data required to complete the calculation. This might be due to a number of factors, including a misspelled formula name or an incorrect reference.


In this article, we explored 3 simple methods to search a name in Excel, empowering you to navigate its vast data tables effortlessly. From the convenient "Ctrl + F" shortcut to the powerful Vlookup function, we've demystified the process.

If you are looking for a natural choice to enhance your Excel experience, look no further than WPS Office. With its intuitive interface and powerful capabilities, WPS Office serves as the perfect free alternative to Microsoft Office. Effortlessly search for names and handle data with ease, unlocking the full potential of your data prowess

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.