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Documentation/How Tos/Calc: SEARCH function

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SEARCH

Returns the position of a string of text within another string.

Syntax:

SEARCH(findtext; texttosearch; startposition)

returns the character position of the first occurrence of findtext within texttosearch.
startposition (optional) is the position from which the search starts.
The search is not case-sensitive.
The search will use regular expressions, if they are enabled (Tools - Options - OpenOffice.org Calc - Calculate).
A failed search gives the #VALUE! error.
In Tools - Options - OpenOffice.org Calc - Calculate the setting for Search criteria = and <>must apply to whole cells has no effect.

Example:

SEARCH("yo"; "Yoyo")

returns 1. The search is case-insensitive.

SEARCH("cho"; "choochoo"; 2)

returns 5.

SEARCH("t.n"; "often")

returns 3, if regular expressions are enabled. The "." stands for any single character in a regular expression, so "t.n" matches "ten".

SEARCH("xyz","abcdef",1)

returns #VALUE!.
NOTE: This is an error condition, which must be 'handled' if used as the argument to another function.
IF( SEARCH("xyz","abcdef",1) , "Substring Present", "ERR: Missing Substring" )
returns #VALUE! which is not very useful, therefore we could use either ISERROR() or ISNUMBER() for example:
IF( ISERROR( SEARCH("xyz","abcdef",1) ) , "ERR: Missing Substring", "Substring Present" ).
returns "ERR: Missing Substring" (... allowing the IF() to function, and not propagating the error from the SEARCH() function.
IF( ISNUMBER( SEARCH("xyz","abcdef",1) ) , "Substring Present", "ERR: Missing Substring" ).
returns "ERR: Missing Substring" (... allowing the IF() to function, and not propagating the error from the SEARCH() function.
NOTE: In practice, it may be more maintainable to use ISNUMBER() to avoid negative logic, and it is more indicative of the evaluation desired: if the substring has a position, then ISNUMBER() is TRUE, else ISNUMBER() is FALSE.

See Also

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