Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on October 19, 2021 This article demonstrates different formulas based on if a cell contains a given text.

Formula in cell C3:

=B3=\$E\$3

The formula shown in the image above in cell C3 returns TRUE or FALSE based on a comparison between cell B3 and cell E3. The equal sign is a logical operator and returns boolean value TRUE or FALSE, it is not case sensitive.

## 1. If cell contains partial text The easiest way to check if a cell partially contains a specific text string is, in my opinion, the IF and COUNTIF function combined. The COUNTIF function allows you to count how many times a text string exists in a cell range.

Formula in cell D3:

=IF(COUNTIF(B3, C3), TRUE, FALSE)

The asterisk characters let you perform a wildcard match meaning that it matches any sequence of characters. Adding a beginning and ending asterisk to a text string allows you to check if a cell value contains a specific text string.

### 1.1 Explaining formula in cell D3

#### Step 1 - Check if cell contains text condition

You can't use asterisks with the equal sign to check if a cell contains a given text, however, the COUNTIF function can do that.

The COUNTIF function calculates the number of cells that is equal to a condition.

COUNTIF(rangecriteria)

COUNTIF(B3, C3)

becomes

COUNTIF("Green, red and blue","*red*")

and returns 1.

#### Step 2 - Evaluate IF function

The IF function returns one value if the logical test is TRUE and another value if the logical test is FALSE.

IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

IF(COUNTIF(B3, C3), TRUE, FALSE)

becomes

IF(1, TRUE, FALSE)

The logical_test argument requires boolean values or their numerical equivalents. FALSE = 0 (zero), TRUE any number except zero.

### 1.2 If cell contains partial text - hardcoded asterisks Formula in cell D4:

=IF(COUNTIF(B4, "*"&C4&"*"), TRUE, FALSE)

You don't have to add asterisks manually to your cell, you can easily build a formula that adds the asterisks automatically, demonstrated in cell D4. The ampersand & character lets you append the asterisks to the text string you want to use.

Note, if a text string is found twice in the same cell the COUNTIF function only returns 1. It counts cells not text strings.

### 1. Alternative function - SEARCH function The SEARCH function returns the position of the character at which a specific text string is found. Luckily the IF function accepts any number as TRUE except 0 (zero), however, the SEARCH function returns an error #VALUE! if it can't find the text string.

Formula in cell D5:

=IF(ISNUMBER(SEARCH(C5, B5)),1,0)

To avoid the error value I use the ISNUMBER function that returns TRUE if a number and FALSE if anything else, also formula errors.

## 2. If cell contains text then return value The formula in cell C3 checks if cell B3 contains the condition specified in cell E3. It returns the value if TRUE and a blank cell if FALSE.

Formula in cell C3:

=IF(COUNTIF(B3, "*"&\$E\$3&"*"), B3, "")

### 2.1 Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Concatenate strings

The asterisk is a wildcard character that matches 0 (zero) to any number of characters. The ampersand character concatenates strings in an Excel formula.

"*"&\$E\$3&"*"

becomes

"*"&"purple"&"*"

and returns "*purple*".

#### Step 2 - Check if cell contains string

The COUNTIF function calculates the number of cells that is equal to a condition.

COUNTIF(rangecriteria)

COUNTIF(B3, "*"&\$E\$3&"*")

becomes

COUNTIF("Green, red and blue", "*purple*")

#### Step 3 - Return value if TRUE

The IF function returns one value if the logical test is TRUE and another value if the logical test is FALSE.

IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

IF(COUNTIF(B3, "*"&\$E\$3&"*"), B3, "")

becomes

IF(0, B3, "")

and returns "" in cell C3.

## 3. If cell contains text then add text from another cell The formula in cell C3 checks if cell B3 contains the condition specified in cell E3. It returns the value concatenated with a value on the same row from column if TRUE and a blank cell if FALSE.

Formula in cell C3:

=IF(COUNTIF(B3, "*"&\$F\$3&"*"), B3&C3, "")

### 3.1 Explaining formula in cell C4

#### Step 1 - Concatenate strings

The asterisk is a wildcard character that matches 0 (zero) to any number of characters. The ampersand character concatenates strings in an Excel formula.

"*"&\$E\$3&"*"

becomes

"*"&"purple"&"*"

and returns "*purple*".

#### Step 2 - Check if cell contains string

The COUNTIF function calculates the number of cells that is equal to a condition.

COUNTIF(rangecriteria)

COUNTIF(B4, "*"&\$E\$3&"*")

becomes

COUNTIF("Black, purple, white", "*purple*")

and returns 1. Purple is found in cell B4.

#### Step 3 - Return concatenated value if TRUE

The IF function returns one value if the logical test is TRUE and another value if the logical test is FALSE.

IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

IF(COUNTIF(B4, "*"&\$E\$3&"*"), B4&C4, "")

becomes

IF(0, B4&C4, "")

becomes

IF(0, "Black, purple, white"&"#11", "")

and returns "Black, purple, white#11" in cell D4.

## 4. If cell contains text then sum The formula in cell F3 checks if cells in column B contain the condition specified in cell E3 and sums the corresponding values in column C.

Formula in cell C3:

=SUM(ISNUMBER(SEARCH(E3, B3:B6))*C3:C6)

### 4.1 Explaining formula in cell C4

#### Step 1 - Search for string

The SEARCH function returns a number representing the position of character at which a specific text string is found reading left to right. It is not a case-sensitive search.

SEARCH(find_text,within_text, [start_num])

SEARCH(E3, B3:B6)

becomes

SEARCH("North", {"North, South"; "South, East"; "West, North, South"; "South, West"})

and returns {1; #VALUE!; 7; #VALUE!}.

#### Step 2 - Check if value in array is an error

The ISNUMBER function checks if a value is a number, returns TRUE or FALSE.

ISNUMBER(SEARCH(E3, B3:B6))

becomes

ISNUMBER({1; #VALUE!; 7; #VALUE!})

and returns {TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE}.

#### Step 3 - Multiply corresponding numbers

The asterisk lets you multiply numbers in an Excel formula. We are multiplying boolean values in this example.

ISNUMBER(SEARCH(E3, B3:B6))*C3:C6

becomes

{TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE}*{10; 15; 6; 2}

TRUE equals 1 and FALSE equals 0 (zero).

{TRUE; FALSE; TRUE; FALSE}*{10; 15; 6; 2}

and returns {10; 0; 6; 0}.

#### Step 4 - Sum numbers

The SUM function adds numbers and returns a total.

SUM(ISNUMBER(SEARCH(E3, B3:B6))*C3:C6)

becomes

SUM({10; 0; 6; 0})

and returns 16 in cell F3.

## 5. If cell contains text add 1 The formula in cell C3 counts cells containing the given text string in cell E3.

Formula in cell C3:

=IF(COUNTIF(B3,"*"&\$E\$3&"*"),1+MAX(\$C\$2:C2),"")

### 5.1 Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Concatenate strings

The asterisk is a wildcard character that matches 0 (zero) to any number of characters. The ampersand character concatenates strings in an Excel formula.

"*"&\$E\$3&"*"

becomes

"*"&"North"&"*"

and returns "*North*".

#### Step 2 - Check if cell contains given string

The COUNTIF function calculates the number of cells that is equal to a condition.

COUNTIF(rangecriteria)

COUNTIF(B3,"*"&\$E\$3&"*")

becomes

COUNTIF("North, South", "*North*")

and returns 1.

#### Step 3 - Calculate count

The MAX function returns the largest number from a cell range or array.

Reference \$C\$2:C2 contains both absolute and relative cell references which makes it grow when the cell is copied to cells below.

1+MAX(\$C\$2:C2)

becomes

1+0

and returns 1.

#### Step 4 - Show count if corresponding cell contains given string

The IF function returns one value if the logical test is TRUE and another value if the logical test is FALSE.

IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

IF(COUNTIF(B3,"*"&\$E\$3&"*"),1+MAX(\$C\$2:C2),"")

becomes

IF(C1,1+MAX(\$C\$2:C2),"")

becomes

IF(C1, 1, "")

and returns 1. 