Wildcards are a set of special symbols that help you for an effective search result and can represent a group of similar strings at a time. In this article, you will learn about the wildcard in Google Sheets.

## A Sample of Practice Spreadsheet

You can download spreadsheets from here and practice.

## What Are Wildcards in Google Sheets?

In Google Sheets, Wildcards are advanced search techniques that optimize your searching. The most common wildcard characters in Google Sheets are:

**Question (?):**It represents a single character in Google Sheets. For example, ‘T?m’ can refer to Tom, Tim, etc.**Asterisk (*):**It represents any number of characters in Google Sheets. For example, ‘Tom*’ can refer to Tom, Tommy, Tomas, etc.**T****ilde (~):**This wildcard character is basically used before* or? wildcards. It instructs Google Sheets to treat these wildcards as a regular symbol. For example, the search term ‘T**~*****’**means to go for the exact word ‘T*’.

## 3 Practical Examples of Using Wildcard in Google Sheets

You can use wildcards in different types of functions to get your desired result. Wildcard makes the function more powerful, and the functions are able to present extensive results. the wildcard is mostly used in: **SUMIF** or **COUNTIF** function, conditional filtering, and **VLOOKUP formulas.**

Here, we discuss the use of different types of wildcards with these functions. To show the application of these wildcards we develop a dataset containing mobile phone information. The dataset has **Brand**, **Model,** and **Sale Quantity** columns.

### 1. Applying Asterisk(*) Wildcard

The asterisk wildcard will help you to look up values that you may not exactly remember. So, you can use this wildcard in a number of functions and can the result that you expect.

#### 1.1 Using SUMIF or COUNTIF Functions

You can use this asterisk wildcard in both **SUMIF** and **COUNTIF functions**. To show the whole process here we apply the **SUMIF function**. You can run the **COUNTIF** function by following the same procedure.

- First, create a row to show the sum result. Here we create a cell
**Total Sale**to show the sale result.

- Then insert the
**SUMIF**function in cell**G4**.

- After that select a range as per the function parameter. Here, we select the
**entire model column C5:C10**as the range.

- Now, as a
**criterion**argument select a specific value. We add**“iPhone*”**. Here, with the value, we insert**“*”**wildcard also to sum all the values that start with “**iPhone**”.

- At the end, apply the
**[sum_range]**from where sum will be calculated. We insert**D5:D10**as the sum range.

- Finally, press
**ENTER**and find the sum of all iPhone models.

`=SUMIF(C5:C10,"iPhone*",D5:D10)`

- In the same way, insert the range and criterion for the
**COUNTIF**function.

- To apply the function press,
**ENTER**and get the desired result in the selected cell.

`=COUNTIF(C5:C10,"iPhone*")`

**Read more: How to Check If Value Exists in Range in Google Sheets (4 Ways)**

#### 1.2 Filtering with Conditions

In Google Sheets, by using wildcards we can easily filter any data by applying conditions. To do so,

- In the beginning, select the data range which you want to filter. Here, we select the entire dataset
**B4:D10**.

- Then go to the
**Data**bar and select**Create a filter**option.

- Yow will find a filter symbol add to every column. Now, go to the column from which basis you want to filter.

- Select
**Filter by condition**.

- Then select the
**Text contains**option and insert the value you want to filter. Here, we add**iphon*.**The*****wildcard will help to find this incomplete value easily. In the end, press**OK**.

- Finally, you will find all values that contain “
**iPhone**”.

**Read More: Google Sheets: Filter Data that Contains Text (3 Easy Ways)**

#### 1.3 Performing VLOOKUP with Partial Match

If you want to look up any value that may not exactly match with the source dataset but have a partial match. In that case, the wildcard can be the most useful one. To look up partial value,

- At the very beginning, insert the partial value in a cell. Here, we look up the partial value “
**sung**” which we insert in cell**G4**.

- After that in cell
**G5**apply the**VLOOKUP**function.

- Add the wildcard with the partial value cell as the
**search key**. Connect the two statements with the “**&”**symbol. Here, we add the “*****” wildcard before the partial value as we look up for the starting value. You can insert it at the end as well as at both sides of the partial value if you look up for the end or middle portion.

- Then insert the range. Here we add
**B4:B10**.

- Add the index which represents the column number. We add
**1**.

- At the end, set
**is_sorted****FALSE**to get the exact result.

- Finally, press
**ENTER**and you will find the desired result in the selected cell.

`=VLOOKUP("*&G4,B4:B10,1,FALSE)`

**Read More:** **How to VLOOKUP for Partial Match in Google Sheets**

**Similar Readings**

**Set a Filter in Google Sheets (An Easy Guide)****How to VLOOKUP All Matches in Google Sheets (2 Approaches)****Delete Filter Views in Google Sheets (An Easy Guide)****How to Filter Custom Formula in Google Sheets (3 Easy Examples)**

### 2. Utilizing Question Mark(?) Wildcard

Like the **asterisk (*) **wildcard the **question mark (?)** wildcard also helps functions to work more efficiently. As the question mark wildcard represents a single character you have to input the question mark according to the value number. For example, if you want to find two alphabets of any word then you have to put two “**?” **symbols.

#### 2.1 Applying SUMIF or COUNTIF Functions

In **SUMIF** and **COUNTIF **functions, the use of **question mark (?)** wildcard is the same as the **asterisk** wildcard.

- Input the
**SUMIF**function in cell**G4**.

- After that enter all the parameters accordingly. For criterion here, we insert “
**S?0**”. So it will sum up all the values that start with**S**and end with**0**.

- Finally, press
**ENTER**and you will find the sum of all**S?0**values.

`=SUMIF(C5:C10,"S?0",D5:D10)`

#### 2.2 Conditional Filtering Data

To filter value by using question mark wildcard,

- First, select the entire dataset and insert the filter symbol in all columns by selecting the option
**Create a filter.**

- Then, click on the filter symbol of the column on which basis you filter the entire dataset and go to
**Filter by conditions**>**Text contains**, insert the value “**S?0**” and click**OK**.

- Finally, you will get the filtered value.

**Read More: How to Use Filter with Wildcard in Google Sheets (3 Examples)**

#### 2.3 Operating VLOOKUP with Partial Match

As the **question mark (?) **wildcard represents a single character so you can also look up for partial value by using this wildcard in the **VLOOKUP** function. To do so,

- First, insert a value you look up for.

- Then apply the
**VLOOKUP**function in cell**G5**.

- Now, insert
**“?”&G4&”?”**as the**search key**. As we have a middle partial value, and we look up the side value that’s why we add the**“?”**symbol on both sides. Connect all the statements by using the “**&**” symbol.

- After that, add the
**range**,**index,**and**is_sorted**in the same way we applied for the asterisk wildcard at the top.

- Finally, press
**ENTER**and you will find the desired look up value in the selected cell.

`=VLOOKUP("?&G4&"?",B4:B10,1,FALSE)`

**Read More: How to Use VLOOKUP Function with Wildcard in Google Sheets**

### 3. Implementing Tilde (~) Wildcard

The **Tilde(~) wildcard **is not often used but sometimes it can help you run a function smoothly. It is basically used with other wildcards to indicate that those wildcards are used as simple characters but not wildcards.

To show the use of a tilde wildcard,

- First, we insert a value
**S*0**that contains an**asterisk wildcard**in the dataset.

- Then, apply the
**COUNTIF**formula where the search key is**S*0**. So, the function counts all partial values including the exact**S*0**.

`=COUNTIF(C4:C10,"S*0")`

- We only want to count the
**S*0**value where the*****is not used as a wildcard. So, we insert the**Tilde(~) wildcard**after the*****symbol in the function.

- Finally, press
**ENTER**and you will find that the*****symbol counts as a simple character, and the function count only the “**S*0**” value.

`=COUNTIF(C4:C10,"S`

`~*0")`

## Things to Remember

- In the
**VLOOKUP**function insert the wildcards carefully with partial values. - The
**Tilde(~) wildcard**always insert after other wildcards.

## Conclusion

We hope that you will clearly understand of a wildcard in Google Sheets. To dive deep and explore more about Google Sheets you can visit the **OfficeWheel **website anytime.

**Related Articles**

**How to Use Wildcard with IF Condition in Google Sheets (3 Ways)****[Fixed!] Wildcard Is Not Working in Google Sheets (5 Solutions)****How to Use QUERY Function with Wildcard in Google Sheets****Filter Based on a Cell Value in Google Sheets (2 Easy ways)****Find and Replace with Wildcard in Google Sheets****Google Sheets: The FILTER Function (A Comprehensive Guide)****Filter by Condition Using a Custom Formula in Google Sheets (3 Easy Examples)**