Excel Default Search by Columns instead of Rows

New Contributor

When I open Excel it is displaying the proper search behavior - by Rows.  However, I have a number of files that are defaulting to by Columns and no matter what I do to save them, copy to a clean file, etc. they retain the incorrect search behavior.  It may be related to the EPM plug-in but I'm hoping there's a way to fix this.

3 Replies


Find or replace text and numbers on a worksheet

Search: You can choose to search either By Rows (default), or By Columns.


With your permission, if I may recommend, describe your concern very precisely, attach photos and step-by-step explanations would help to give the users here in the forum a more accurate picture.

At the same time you add your Excel version, operating system and storage medium as information, so you can get a solution proposal much faster and more accurately.


Thank you for your understanding and patience



I know I don't know anything (Socrates)

@NikolinoDE I am running Excel 2016 (16.0.5369.1000) MSO (16.0.5365.1000) 64-bit.  I can't attach photos but when I open certain files the default changes from by Rows to by Columns.  When I do so, the search then becomes by Columns for all open files, even the ones that were defaulting to by Rows previously.  This behavior is most prevalent when I download/open files that were originally generated by SAP or using the EPM for SAP plug-in.  If I try and copy the info from one of these files to a new file and save the default search migrates with it as well.


Unfortunately, I can't help there because my knowledge of SAP is limited.

But what I could imagine is that this could already be set in the conversion of SAP.

Have you tried copying the workbook, worksheet by worksheet, to another workbook?

...or you could try saving the file as .xlsx (if that's not the case).

As I said, these are just assumptions, without a file (without sensitive data) with such misconduct, I can't help much.


As the last thing I always recommend as a panacea, ALWAYS update Windows and Office first.


My column headings are labeled with numbers instead of letters

Cause: The default cell reference style (A1), which refers to columns as letters and refers to rows as numbers, was changed.

Solution:    Clear the R1C1 reference style selection in Excel preferences.

On the Excel menu, click Preferences.

Under Authoring, click General  General Preferences button.

Clear the Use R1C1 reference style check box.

The column headings now show A, B, and C, instead of 1, 2, 3, and so on.



Thank you for your understanding and patience



I know I don't know anything (Socrates)