This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the SUBSTITUTE function (function: A prewritten formula that takes a value or values, performs an operation, and returns a value or values. Use functions to simplify and shorten formulas on a worksheet, especially those that perform lengthy or complex calculations.) in Microsoft Excel.
Substitutes new_text for old_text in a text string. Use SUBSTITUTE when you want to replace specific text in a text string; use REPLACE when you want to replace any text that occurs in a specific location in a text string.
SUBSTITUTE(text, old_text, new_text, [instance_num])
The SUBSTITUTE function syntax has the following arguments (argument: A value that provides information to an action, an event, a method, a property, a function, or a procedure.):
- Text Required. The text or the reference to a cell containing text for which you want to substitute characters.
- Old_text Required. The text you want to replace.
- New_text Required. The text you want to replace old_text with.
- Instance_num Optional. Specifies which occurrence of old_text you want to replace with new_text. If you specify instance_num, only that instance of old_text is replaced. Otherwise, every occurrence of old_text in text is changed to new_text.
The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.
How do I copy an example?
- Select the example in this article. If you are copying the example in Excel Web App, copy and paste one cell at a time.Important Do not select the row or column headers.
Selecting an example from Help
- Press CTRL+C.
- Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
- In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V. If you are working in Excel Web App, repeat copying and pasting for each cell in the example.
Important For the example to work properly, you must paste it into cell A1 of the worksheet.
- To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.
After you copy the example to a blank worksheet, you can adapt it to suit your needs.
|Quarter 1, 2008
|Quarter 1, 2011
|=SUBSTITUTE(A2, "Sales", "Cost")
||Substitutes Cost for Sales (Cost Data)
|=SUBSTITUTE(A3, "1", "2", 1)
||Substitutes first instance of "1" with "2" (Quarter 2, 2008)
|=SUBSTITUTE(A4, "1", "2", 3)
||Substitutes third instance of "1" with "2" (Quarter 1, 2012)