Find all matches in workbook using Excel VBA

I am trying to write a VBA routine that will take a string, search a given Excel workbook, and return to me all possible matches.

I currently have an implementation that works, but it is extremely slow as it is a double for loop. Of course the built in Excel Find function is "optimized" to find a single match, but I would like it to return an array of initial matches that I can then apply further methods to.

I will post some pseudocode of what I have already

For all sheets in workbook
    For all used rows in worksheet
        If cell matches search string
            do some stuff

As previously stated, this double for loop makes things run very slowly, so I am looking to get rid of this if possible. Any suggestions?


While the below answers would have improved my method, I ended up going with something slightly different as I needed to do multiple queries over and over.

I instead decided to loop through all rows in my document and create a dictionary containing a key for each unique row. The value this points to will then be a list of possible matches, so that when I query later, I can simply just check if it exists, and if so, just get a quick list of matches.

Basically just doing one initial sweep to store everything in a manageable structure, and then query that structure which can be done in O(1) time


Using the Range.Find method, as pointed out above, along with a loop for each worksheet in the workbook, is the fastest way to do this. The following, for example, locates the string "Question?" in each worksheet and replaces it with the string "Answered!".

Sub FindAndExecute()

Dim Sh As Worksheet
Dim Loc As Range

For Each Sh In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
    With Sh.UsedRange
        Set Loc = .Cells.Find(What:="Question?")
        If Not Loc Is Nothing Then
            Do Until Loc Is Nothing
                Loc.Value = "Answered!"
                Set Loc = .FindNext(Loc)
        End If
    End With
    Set Loc = Nothing

End Sub

Function GetSearchArray(strSearch)
Dim strResults As String
Dim SHT As Worksheet
Dim rFND As Range
Dim sFirstAddress
For Each SHT In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
    Set rFND = Nothing
    With SHT.UsedRange
        Set rFND = .Cells.Find(What:=strSearch, LookIn:=xlValues, LookAt:=xlPart, SearchOrder:=xlRows, SearchDirection:=xlNext, MatchCase:=False)
        If Not rFND Is Nothing Then
            sFirstAddress = rFND.Address
                If strResults = vbNullString Then
                    strResults = "Worksheet(" & SHT.Index & ").Range(" & Chr(34) & rFND.Address & Chr(34) & ")"
                    strResults = strResults & "|" & "Worksheet(" & SHT.Index & ").Range(" & Chr(34) & rFND.Address & Chr(34) & ")"
                End If
                Set rFND = .FindNext(rFND)
            Loop While Not rFND Is Nothing And rFND.Address <> sFirstAddress
        End If
    End With
If strResults = vbNullString Then
    GetSearchArray = Null
ElseIf InStr(1, strResults, "|", 1) = 0 Then
    GetSearchArray = Array(strResults)
    GetSearchArray = Split(strResults, "|")
End If
End Function

Sub test2()
For Each X In GetSearchArray("1")
    Debug.Print X
End Sub

Careful when doing a Find Loop that you don't get yourself into an infinite loop... Reference the first found cell address and compare after each "FindNext" statement to make sure it hasn't returned back to the first initially found cell.

You may use the Range.Find method:

This will get you the first cell which contains the search string. By repeating this with setting the "After" argument to the next cell you will get all other occurrences until you are back at the first occurrence.

This will likely be much faster.

Based on the idea of B Hart's answer, here's my version of a function that searches for a value in a range, and returns all found ranges (cells):

Function FindAll(ByVal rng As Range, ByVal searchTxt As String) As Range
    Dim foundCell As Range
    Dim firstAddress
    Dim rResult As Range
    With rng
        Set foundCell = .Find(What:=searchTxt, _
                              After:=.Cells(.Cells.Count), _
                              LookIn:=xlValues, _
                              LookAt:=xlWhole, _
                              SearchOrder:=xlByRows, _
                              SearchDirection:=xlNext, _
        If Not foundCell Is Nothing Then
            firstAddress = foundCell.Address
                If rResult Is Nothing Then
                    Set rResult = foundCell
                    Set rResult = Union(rResult, foundCell)
                End If
                Set foundCell = .FindNext(foundCell)
            Loop While Not foundCell Is Nothing And foundCell.Address <> firstAddress
        End If
    End With

    Set FindAll = rResult
End Function

To search for a value in the whole workbook:

Dim wSh As Worksheet
Dim foundCells As Range
For Each wSh In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
    Set foundCells = FindAll(wSh.UsedRange, "YourSearchString")
    If Not foundCells Is Nothing Then
        Debug.Print ("Results in sheet '" & wSh.Name & "':")
        Dim cell As Range
        For Each cell In foundCells
            Debug.Print ("The value has been found in cell: " & cell.Address)
    End If

Based on Ahmed's answer, after some cleaning up and generalization, including the other "Find" parameters, so we can use this function in any situation:

'Uses Range.Find to get a range of all find results within a worksheet
' Same as Find All from search dialog box
Function FindAll(rng As Range, What As Variant, Optional LookIn As XlFindLookIn = xlValues, Optional LookAt As XlLookAt = xlWhole, Optional SearchOrder As XlSearchOrder = xlByColumns, Optional SearchDirection As XlSearchDirection = xlNext, Optional MatchCase As Boolean = False, Optional MatchByte As Boolean = False, Optional SearchFormat As Boolean = False) As Range
    Dim SearchResult As Range
    Dim firstMatch As String
    With rng
        Set SearchResult = .Find(What, , LookIn, LookAt, SearchOrder, SearchDirection, MatchCase, MatchByte, SearchFormat)
        If Not SearchResult Is Nothing Then
            firstMatch = SearchResult.Address
                If FindAll Is Nothing Then
                    Set FindAll = SearchResult
                    Set FindAll = Union(FindAll, SearchResult)
                End If
                Set SearchResult = .FindNext(SearchResult)
            Loop While Not SearchResult Is Nothing And SearchResult.Address <> firstMatch
        End If
    End With
End Function

You can read the data into an array. From there you can do the match in memory, instead of reading one cell at a time.

Pass cell contents into VBA Array

Below code avoids creating infinite loop. Assume XYZ is the string which we are looking for in the workbook.

   Private Sub CommandButton1_Click()
   Dim Sh As Worksheet, myCounter
   Dim Loc As Range

   For Each Sh In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
   With Sh.UsedRange
   Set Loc = .Cells.Find(What:="XYZ")

    If Not Loc Is Nothing Then

           MsgBox ("Value is found  in " & Sh.Name)
           myCounter = 1
            Set Loc = .FindNext(Loc)

    End If
End With
If myCounter = 0 Then
MsgBox ("Value not present in this worrkbook")
End If

End Sub

In my Scenario, i have to look for the value in column A and need to find out the matches in column B. So i have created a for loop, inside it will look up into the entire column A and get the exact match from Column B.

Sub Type3()

Dim loc As String
Dim k As Integer
Dim i As Integer
Dim j As Integer
Dim findpage As String
Dim methodlist As String    

findpage = "benefits" 'We can change this values as  dynamic
k = Sheet1.Range("A1048576").End(xlUp).Row

For i = 1 To k
         loc = Sheet1.Cells(i, 1).Value           
        If StrComp(findpage, loc) = 0 Then                   
                 method = Cells(i, 2).Value
                 methodlist = methodlist + "," + method   'We can use string array as well                                   
        End If         
Next i            
End Sub

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