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MS Excel: INSTR Function (VBA)

Learn how to use the Excel INSTR function with syntax and examples.


The Microsoft Excel INSTR function returns the position of the first occurrence of a substring in a string.


The syntax for the Microsoft Excel INSTR function is:

InStr( [start], string, substring, [compare] )

Parameters or Arguments

start is optional. It is the starting position for the search. If this parameter is omitted, the search will begin at position 1.

string is the string to search within.

substring is the substring that you want to find.

compare is optional. It is the type of comparison to perform. It can be one of the following values:

VBA Constant Value Explanation
vbUseCompareOption -1 Uses option compare
vbBinaryCompare 0 Binary comparison
vbTextCompare 1 Textual comparison
vbDatabaseCompare 2 Comparison based on your database

Applies To

The INSTR function can be used in the following versions of Microsoft Excel:

  • Excel 2013, Excel 2011 for Mac, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, Excel 2003, Excel XP, Excel 2000

Type of Excel Function

The INSTR function can be used in Microsoft Excel as the following type of function:

  • VBA function (VBA)

Example (as VBA Function)

The INSTR function can only be used in VBA code in Microsoft Excel.

Let's look at some Excel INSTR function examples and explore how you would use the INSTR function in Excel VBA code:

InStr(1, "Tech on the Net", "the") would return 9
InStr("Tech on the Net", "the") would return 9
InStr(10, "Tech on the Net", "t") would return 15

For example:

Dim LPosition As Integer

LPosition = InStr(10, "Tech on the Net", "t")

In this example, the variable called LPosition would now contain the value 15.