REPLACE Formula in Excel (Table of Content)
Introduction to REPLACE Formula in Excel
Normally while working with Excel we may use the wrong word and want to replace with the correct word or sometimes similar pattern data like a month, year, etc. need to update with the new data.
Eg: Where ever Jan is available need to replace with Feb.
The function that helps us to replace the old text with new text without erasing the existing text is called the REPLACE Function. The text may be a single character of a set of characters. In this article, we will discuss Replace Formula in excel.
Replace can be performed in Two Ways:
1. With the help of Find and Replace.
2. With the use of Replace Function.
If we press Ctrl + F we will get the below pop up.
In “Find what” we need to give the existing text and “Replace with” we need to give the new text. We can replace in one single cell or all the selected cells in a single click.
Replacement Using REPLACE Function
Another way of replacing is by using the “Replace” function. Replace is a worksheet function that can be used in VBA too.
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Before going to see a few examples of REPLACE function first we will understand the 4 arguments that should input while using the REPLACE function.
Argument in REPLACE Formula
Old_text: This argument represents the existing old text.
Start_num: This argument represents the starting character number from where we want to replace.
Num_chars : This argument represents the number of characters we want to replace.
New_text: This argument represents the new text which we want to replace in place of old existing text.
How to Use Excel REPLACE Formula in Excel?
Excel REPLACE Formula is very simple and easy. Let’s understand how to use the Excel REPLACE Formula with few examples.
Example #1 – Replace the Text or String
Consider a text string like below.
Now we need to replace June with May by using the REPLACE function. Follow the below steps to REPLACE.
First, select the cell where we want to place the revised text and start the formula then select the cell which has old data. Here A2 is the cell address of existing or old data hence we selected cell A2.
We need to give the start number from which character we want to replace. Here we want to replace from E which is in position number 9. So, give comma after A2 and input 9.
How many characters we want to replace. Here “June” occupies 4 characters which we want to replace with new text. Input 4 in num_chars position.
Last step is for new text. Input the new text in double quotes as shown in the below picture.
Press Enter Key.
Example #2 – Replace Date with the help of REPLACE Formula
Now we will apply the Replace function to replace a month in date format. Consider a date in the below format.
Now we want to replace 2019 with 2020 using REPLACE. Apply the formula as we already applied earlier.
But, we got some strange results here. Why? Because the date will save in number format hence it added 2020 to that number. What is the solution then?
First, we need to convert date into text format using TEXT function and the format is “dd-mmm-yyyy” then we will replace 2019 with 2020.
In “Old text” use the TEXT function to convert the date into the required date format as below.
With the above step, we converted the date in the cell G11 into text format “dd-mmm-yyy” and now we can input the rest of the arguments as usual.
We want to replace 2019 with 2020 hence input 8 in “start_numb” as the 2 is in the 8th position of the string.
Input the number of characters as 4 because “2019” occupies 4 characters.
Finally, input the new text “2020” in double quotes.
Press Enter Key.
Example #3 – Insert Characters and NESTED REPLACE
In this example, we will see how to input additional characters or symbol without replacing any text and will see how to use multiple replace conditions.
Consider a string “son-in-law” without a symbol “-“ as below.
As usual, start the formula REPLACE but don’t select the cell address immediately instead of that input REPLACE function one more time as below.
Select the cell address.
In start number input 4 because we need hyphen character in the fourth position.
Input zero in place of the number of characters as we do not want to replace any characters here.
Input Hyphen Symbol (-) in place of new text with double quotes.
With this we able to input the first hyphen symbol between “son” and “in” and the result of this replace function will be input for the outer replace function.
Again, input the start number as 7, number of characters as 0 and new text as hyphen as below.
The result will be as below.
In the above example, we did not remove any characters from the existing or old text but added an additional symbol to it. Not only symbols, but we can also add the characters. Here we used two REPLACE functions however we can add multiple REPLACE functions as per our requirement.
Things to Remember About REPLACE Formula in Excel
- It is used to replace the old text with new text when we know the position of the text.
- If you do not know the position of old text, then better to avoid using it or use with the combination of FIND function. In start_num position use FIND function.
- If you do not want to remove any character input zero in the number of characters.
- While working with Dates ensure you convert into text later replace with the required text. If the result requires in Date format, not in text format, then input DATEVALUE function to the result of REPLACE function.
This has been a guide to REPLACE Formula in Excel. Here we discussed How to use REPLACE Formula in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You can also go through our other suggested articles –