## What Is SUBSTITUTE function In Excel?

The

SUBSTITUTE function in Excelreplaces an existing letter, word, or any text with another required or new text. The function is case-sensitive, so we have to give the right input, w.r.t, uppercase, or lowercase. TheSUBSTITUTE function in Excelis an inbuilt Text function, which means that we can insert the function as a formula from the “Function Library” or enter it directly in the worksheet.

For example, the table below contains the original text, and the text to be replaced with a new text.

Enter the formulas as follows: **=SUBSTITUTE(A2,”C”,”B”)** in cell **C2, =SUBSTITUTE(A3,”_”,” “)** in cell **C3**, **=SUBSTITUTE(A4,”T”,”B”,1)** in cell **C4**, and **=SUBSTITUTE(A5,”SUBSTITUTE function”,”SUBSTITUTE()”)** in cell **C3. **Press the “**Enter**” key every time we enter a formula.

The output is shown above. We have used the **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel **to substitute a text character, string, and even specific instances of text in the given text string. Column D is for our reference to view the formulas applied in column C.

##### Table of contents

###### Key Takeaways

- The
**SUBSTITUTE function in Excel**replaces specific text in a supplied text string with a new text which is useful to modify the source data as per our requirements. - To substitute multiple texts in a given text string, we can use nested
**SUBSTITUTE()**. And the number of texts we require to replace will decide the number of**SUBSTITUTE**functions we must include in the nested formula. - We can use the
**TRIM**,**LEN**,**LEFT,**and**VLOOKUP**with the**SUBSTITUTE()**function. - If we omit the last optional argument i.e.,
then the function will substitute every instance of the*instance_num,*in the given text string with the specified*old_text*.*new_text*

**SUBSTITUTE() Excel Formula**

The Syntax of the **SUBSTITUTE Excel formula **is:

The arguments of the **SUBSTITUTE Excel formula **are:

: The text or a reference to the cell that has the text we require to update by substituting its text characters with new text. It is a mandatory argument.*text*: The text we require to replace in the given text string. It is a mandatory argument.*old_text*: The text we require to substitute the*new_text*with. It is a mandatory argument.*old_text*: It indicates the specific occurrence of*instance_num*we wish to substitute with*old_text*. It is an optional argument.*new_text*

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**How To Use SUBSTITUTE Excel Function?**

We can use the **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel **in 2 methods, namely,

**Access from the Excel ribbon.****Enter in the worksheet manually.**

**Method #1 – Access from the Excel ribbon**

First, choose the cell for the output – select the “**Formulas**” tab – go to the “**Function Library**” group – click the “**Text**” drop-down – select the “**SUBSTITUTE**” function, as shown below.

The “**Function Arguments**” window opens. Enter the arguments as cell values or Excel cell references in their respective fields. Then, click “**OK**”, as shown below.

**Method #2 – Enter in the worksheet manually**

Ensure that our source text string is complete and accurate. Also, we should know what text and its instances we have to replace with the required new text in the specified text string.

- Select the target cell.
- Type
**=SUBSTITUTE(**in the cell. [Alternatively, type**=S**or**=SU**and double-click the**SUBSTITUTE**function from the Excel suggestions**.** - Enter the arguments as values or cell references.
- Close the brackets.
- Finally, press
**Enter**to view the updated text string.

**Basic Example**

We will replace the required text to correct the book names **using** **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel.**

In the following table, the data is,

- Column A contains incorrect book names.
- Column B contains the Old_text to be replaced.
- Column C contains the New_text to replace the Old_text.
- Column B contains the Text Instance.
- Column E displays the corrected data.

The steps to correct the book names **using** **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel** are:

**Step 1:** Select cell **E2**, enter the formula **=SUBSTITUTE(A2,B2,C2),** and press the “**Enter**” key. The result is shown below.

[Alternatively, we can select the target cell **E2** and click **Formulas** – **Text** – **SUBSTITUTE** to open the **Function Arguments** window.

Then, enter the three mandatory **SUBSTITUTE()** arguments in the **Function Arguments** window as cell references or values.

And once we click **OK**, the **SUBSTITUTE()** will get executed and updated text string.]

**Step 2:** Drag the formula from cell **E2** to **E7** using the fill handle. [**Note:** We will enter different formulas for the cells **E8** and **E9**].

**Step 3:** Select cell **E8**, enter the formula **=SUBSTITUTE(A8,B8,C8,D8),** including the ** instance_num** argument, and press the “

**Enter**” key. The output is shown below.

**Step 4:** Select cell **E9**, enter the formula ** =SUBSTITUTE(“Reminders Of Hime”,”e”,””,3), **and press the “

**Enter**” key.

The complete output is shown above in column E. In cells **E8** and **E9**, the requirement is to replace a specific instance of the old text in the given text string with a new text. So, the function needs all four arguments to return the required updated text string.

**[Note: **Ensure the specified texts’ cases are correct to avoid potential errors. Also, the text values should be in double quotations when directly supplying the values arguments to the function.]

**Examples**

We will understand the **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel** using advanced scenarios.

**Example #1**

We will use the **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel** when the given text string requires multiple substitutions.

In the following table, the data is,

- Column A shows a list of Engineering course abbreviations.
- Column B will display the full form of the courses.

The steps to get the full form of courses using the **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel **are:

**Step 1:** Select the target cell **B2**, enter the nested formula

** =SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A2,”M”,”Mechanical”),”E”,”Engineering”)**, and press the “

**Enter**” key. The result is shown below.

**Step 2:** Select the target cell **B3**, enter the nested formula

** =SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A3,”R”,”Robotics”),”M”,”Mechatronics”), **and press the “

**Enter**” key. The result is shown below.

**Step 3:** Select the target cell **B4**, enter the nested formula ** =SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A4,”M”,”Materials”,1),”M”,”Mineral”,2),”E”,”Engineering”), **and press the “

**Enter**” key. The result is shown below.

[**Output Observation:** Depending on the number of substitutions required in a given text string at a time, the number of **SUBSTITUTE** functions in the nested formula will vary.

For instance, the text strings in rows 2 and 3 require the replacement of two text values. So, each nested formula in the target cells contains two **SUBSTITUTE **functions. On the other hand, the third text string (Refer to row 4) requires replacing three text values. And thus, the formula in the target cell B4 includes three **SUBSTITUTE **functions.]

**Example #2**

We will update the word count using the **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel **with **TRIM(),** and **LEN() Excel function**.

The following table shows a list of quotes by famous personalities.

The steps to find the word count using **SUBSTITUTE(), TRIM() and LEN() **functions are**:**

**Step 1.** Select cell **B2**, enter the formula ** =(LEN(TRIM(A2))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A2,” “,””)))+1, **and press the “

**Enter**” key. The result is shown below.

**Step 2:** Drag the formula from cell **B2** to **B6** using the fill handle.

The output is shown above.

[**Output observation:** Let us consider the formula in cell **B6** to see how it works. First, the **TRIM() **removes unnecessary spaces at the start and end of the text string in cell **A6**. Then, the first **LEN() **calculates the text string length and returns a value of **57**.

The **SUBSTITUTE() **removes the spaces from the text string in cell **A6**, and the second **LEN()** returns the text string length as **48**. Finally, the formula determines the difference between the two calculated values, **57 **and **48**, which is the count of spaces in the text string. And it adds the value **1** to it to give the result as **10**. The value **1 **added to the difference is because a text string word count is ideally one more than the number of spaces.]

**Example #3**

We will use the **SUBSTITUTE **with **VLOOKUP(), **and **LEFT() excel function** to display the contact number of a particular student, **Francis Vasquez**, in a specific format.

The following table contains a list of student names and their contact numbers.

The procedure to apply the **SUBSTITUTE(), VLOOKUP()** and **LEFT()** functions are:

First, select the target cell **E2**, enter the formula

** =SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(VLOOKUP(D2,A1:B11,2,0),LEFT(VLOOKUP(D2,A1:B11,2,0),1),”(“&LEFT(VLOOKUP(D2,A1:B11,2,0),1)),”-“,”)”,1)**, and press the “

**Enter**” key.

The output is shown above.

[**Output Observation:** There are two values to substitute in the contact number. The first is inserting an opening parenthesis before the first number in the phone number, and the second is replacing the first hyphen with a closing parenthesis.

So, first, the **VLOOKUP() **looks up the contact number in column B, corresponding to the name **Francis Vasquez** mentioned in cell D2, **608-202-9123**. Then the **LEFT() **returns the first character in the phone number from the left, **6**.

Next, the inner **SUBSTITUTE() **replaces the value **6 **with ‘**(6**‘, and then the outer **SUBSTITUTE() **replaces the first hyphen in the phone number with ‘**)**‘. Thus, the formula returns the determined contact number in the required format as **(608)202-9123**.]

**Important Things To Note**

- The
**SUBSTITUTE function in Excel**replaces a specific text in the given text string with another text if we omit the optional argument,.*instance_num* - The function is case-sensitive. The supplied
case does not match the case of the text we need to replace in the given text string. Otherwise, the*old_text*case will be incorrect and not the accurate output.*new_text* - The
**SUBSTITUTE()**does not support wildcard characters such as asterisks, question mark, etc. - When directly supplying texts as arguments to the
**SUBSTITUTE()**, ensure they are in double quotations. Otherwise, the function returns the**#NAME?**error.

**Frequently Asked Questions**

**1. Where is the SUBSTITUTE function in Excel?**

The **SUBSTITUTE function in Excel** is in the **Formulas** tab. Click **Formulas** > **Text **> **SUBSTITUTE** to access it.

**2. How to use the SUBSTITUTE() in Excel to remove spaces?**

We can use the** SUBSTITUTE()** in Excel to remove spaces as follows:

The below table shows two text strings and the requirements for removing spaces from them.

The steps to remove spaces are:**Step 1:** Select cell **C2**, enter the formula ** =SUBSTITUTE(A2,” “,””), **and press the “

**Enter**” key.

[

**Note:**The second argument is a space within double quotes, and the third argument is a double quote without space.]

**Step 2:**Select cell

**C3**, enter the formula

**and press the “**

*=SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A3,” “,””,5),” “,””,5),***Enter**” key.

[

**Note:**The requirement is to remove two space characters, one before and one after the text “

**slower**”. Thus, we need to use multiple

**SUBSTITUTE**functions.]

The output is shown above.

[

**Output observation for cell C3**: First, the inner

**SUBSTITUTE()**removes the space character at the 5

^{th}position in the source text string. Then, the space after the text “

**slower**” becomes the 5

^{th}space character. So the outer

**SUBSTITUTE()**removes it to return the text string

**.**]

**3. Why is the SUBSTITUTE function not working in Excel?**

The **SUBSTITUTE** function might not work for the following reasons:

– The supplied ** old_text **case differs from the text case in the given text string. Otherwise, the

**case is incorrect.**

*new_text*– The text values inserted contain wildcard characters, which the function does not support.

– The text values directly inserted are not in double-quotes.

– We are trying to replace text in the required text string in a protected cell.

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