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 Online, 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 Online, 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)