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Excel Formula: Find position of nth occurrence of a character

To find the first occurrence of a character in a string in Excel, you can use the FIND function. However, how to find the position of the second or third or nth occurrence of a specific character in a string? Here this tutorial introduces a formula which combines the FIND and SUBSTITUTE functions to handle this task and explains the arguments of the formula.
doc find position of nth occurrence of a character 1

Generic formula:



Text:the text or cell refence in which you want to find character.
Char:the character you want to find its position.
Nth_occurrence:the specified occurrence of the character.

Return value

This formula returns a number which indicates the position of the nth occurrence of a character.

How this formula work

Here, in cell E3, you need to find the position of the second occurrence of the character in cell C2 in the text string in cell B3. Please use below formula:


Press Enter keys to get the position, and you can drag fill handle over the adjacent cells to apply this formula.
doc find position of nth occurrence of a character 2


SUBSTITUTE(B3,C3,"~",D3): the SUBSTITUTE function replaces the old text with a new one in a specified instance. Here this formula replaces the character in cell C3 (+) with the new character “~” in the text string of cell B3 (Shift+Ctrl+Enter), and returns Shift+Ctrl~Enter.

FIND function: the FIND function returns the position of a character. Here the formula returns the position of character “~” in the new text string “Shift+Ctrl~Enter”.


“~” only indicates a new character which is used to replace the character you want to find, and you can change it to others. But take notice, it must be the character does not exist in the string.

Sample File

doc sampleClick to download sample file

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