If Cell Contains Text, Then Return Value: Excel Tips

Ever had a spreadsheet with tons of data and needed to quickly find out if a certain cell contains specific text, then return a value based on that? Well, you’re in luck! This article will guide you through the process of how to accomplish this task using a few simple steps. Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: If Cell Contains Text Then Return Value

Before we get started, let’s understand what we’re aiming to do here. We’ll be using a function in a spreadsheet program like Excel or Google Sheets to check if a cell contains certain text. If it does, we’ll return a value you specify; if not, it’ll return something else, maybe an empty cell or different value.

Step 1: Choose the cell you want to check

Select the cell in your spreadsheet where you want to input the function.

This cell will serve as the home for our function. It’s where the magic happens! Make sure it’s a cell that doesn’t already contain important data, as we’ll be inputting a formula here.

Step 2: Input the formula

Type in the formula =IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH("text", A1)), "Value if True", "Value if False") into the chosen cell.

In this formula, replace "text" with the specific text you’re searching for, A1 with the cell you’re checking, "Value if True" with the value you want to return if the text is found, and "Value if False" with the value you want to return if the text isn’t found.

Step 3: Press Enter

Hit the Enter key on your keyboard to execute the function.

After pressing Enter, the function will run, and the cell will display either the "Value if True" or "Value if False" based on whether the text is found in the cell you’re checking.

Once you’ve completed these steps, the cell will automatically update to show the appropriate value whenever the content of the target cell changes. So, if someone types the text you’re monitoring for into the specified cell, your function will instantly return the "Value if True." Neat, huh?

Tips: Mastering If Cell Contains Text Then Return Value

  • Make sure you use quotation marks around the text you’re searching for in the formula.
  • The SEARCH function in the formula is not case-sensitive. If you need it to be, use the FIND function instead.
  • The "Value if True" and "Value if False" can be numbers, text, or even other functions.
  • Remember that the cell reference (like A1 in the formula) can be adjusted to check any cell you need.
  • The formula can be dragged down or across cells to apply the same logic to multiple cells at once.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want to search for multiple different texts?

You can nest multiple IF and SEARCH functions together, although it can get quite complex. Consider using the IFS function if your spreadsheet program supports it.

Can I use this function to return a value in a different cell?

Yes, you can set the "Value if True" or "Value if False" to reference other cells in your spreadsheet.

Is there a way to make the search case-sensitive?

Yes, replace SEARCH with FIND in the formula to make it case-sensitive.

What if the cell I’m checking is empty?

If the cell is empty, the function will return the "Value if False" since there’s no text to find.

Can I use this method to check for numbers instead of text?

Yes, you can modify the formula to search for numbers. Just make sure to input the number without quotation marks in the SEARCH function.


  1. Choose the cell for the function.
  2. Input the formula with your specific parameters.
  3. Press Enter to execute the function.


Mastering the "If Cell Contains Text Then Return Value" function can be a game-changer when dealing with large sets of data. It’s like having a trusty sidekick in your spreadsheet, tirelessly watching over cells and making sure you get the information you need. This function is incredibly versatile and can be tailored to fit various scenarios, whether you’re tracking inventory, monitoring mention of a brand name, or just organizing your personal budget.

As you start to use this function more, you’ll find that it’s not just about saving timeā€”it’s also about maintaining accuracy in your data. After all, we’re only human, and manually checking each cell can lead to errors. Why not let the spreadsheet do the heavy lifting for you?

If you’ve found this tutorial helpful, consider diving deeper into the world of spreadsheet functions. There’s a whole toolbox waiting to be opened, with each tool designed to make your data work for you in new and exciting ways. And remember, practice makes perfect. So, go ahead and start using the "if cell contains text then return value" function today, and watch as it transforms your data handling experience. Happy spreadsheeting!