Basics of Find, Replace in LibreOffice Calc


This article explains how to perform basic search and replace in a Calc spreadsheet.


A spreadsheet may contain thousands of data. Find or Search functions used to locate a string/text in a spreadsheet. You can find the option in Calc Menu: Edit -> Find.

Calc - Menu - Find

After clicking the Find from the menu, the main dialog appears at the bottom of the Sheet with a textbox where you can type the text you want to search. Then hit the Find Next (down arrow icon).

As a result, you can see the first hit is highlighted/ selected in the sheet if the text is found.

Calc- Single Find - Next

If you keep clicking the Find, Calc will show all the matching strings one by one.

Find All

A text may appear in multiple places in a sheet. The Find All button searches for all matching texts together and highlights them. Calc also shows a popup dialog with the list of cell numbers where it found the text. “Find all” also search multiple sheets for the same text, and the popup dialog also shows the sheet name.

Calc - Find All


Replacing a text is easy in Calc. Open the Find and Replace dialog from the Menu: Edit -> Find and Replace.

Calc - Menu - Find and Replace

The find a replace dialog shows two main text box. Enter the text you want to find in the Find text box. And enter the text you want to be replaced within the replace text box.

As a result of clicking the Replace All, all the matched text from the find text box would be replaced with the replacement text.

Calc- Replace All

Find and Replace in a Selected Range

LibreOffice Calc find and replace dialog searches and replaces strings in the entire sheet. However, it is often needed to perform find and replace in selected ranges but not in the entire sheet. Here’s how you can do it:

Please select a range where you want to find a text and replace it.

Open the Find and Replace dialog (CTRL+H). Provide Find and Replace string. 

Under ‘Other options’, select “Current Selection Only” and press replace all.

Now you can see only the strings matching “East” inside the selection are replaced. Other non-selected cell strings remain untouched.

Drop a comment if you are facing difficulties or have any suggestions.

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Debra A Overbey

It appears that it is NOT possible to find and replace all within a SELECTED RANGE OF CELLS ONLY? It appears that one can only either: replace one matching cell at a time or replace all matching cells on the sheet – but not specific cells that are within a highlighted range?

Debra A Overbey

Thank you!!!

Mark Aitchison

It looks like there is no way to search multiple spreadsheet files in a directory with one search, is this correct?


I have cells that have two space-separated sets of three numbers:

657 691
657 692
657 693
691 657
692 657
693 657

In order to keep separation (and not to mis-interpreted it as thousand’s separator I have to put single quote mark in front of the cell text:

‘657 691
‘657 692

The single quote naturally does not show on the cell.

I now need to replace the 657 with 659. How to do it with Search&replace?

When I try it, I’ll loose the single quotation mark AND the space in between the number parts. If I copy-paste the strings into external editor (Notepad++) and replace the numbers there I cannot copy-paste the strings back withot loosing the space in between. If I add the single quote at the external editor, it becomes a visible character at LibreOffice.

Using RegEx did not seem to work: There is a leading OR trailing space at the string to be searched, but replacing (\s?)657(\s?) with $1659$2 wont work either.

What is the correct way of replacing part of string that only contains two sets of three numbers with a space in between — in my case: string 657 with 657?