If you want to highlight rows in a table that contain specific text, you use conditional formatting with a formula that returns TRUE when the the text is found. The trick is to concatenate (glue together) the columns...

If you want to test a cell to see if it contains one of several things, you can do so with a formula that uses the SEARCH function, with help from the ISNUMBER and SUMPRODUCT functions.
Context
Let's say you have a...

To categorize text using keywords with a "contains" match, you can use the SEARCH function, with help from INDEX and MATCH. In the example shown, the formula in C5 is:
{=INDEX(categories,MATCH(TRUE,ISNUMBER(SEARCH(...

To extract text between parentheses, braces, brackets, etc. you can use a formula based on the MID function, with help from SEARCH function. In the example shown, the formula in C5 is:
=MID(B5,SEARCH("(",B5...

To disallow input that contains one of many things, you can use a custom data validation rule based the SEARCH function.
In the example shown, the data validation applied to B5:B11 is:
=SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH(...

To sum if cells contain either one text string or another (i.e. contain "cat" or "rat") you can use the SUMPRODUCT function.
Background
When you sum cells with "OR" criteria, you need to be careful not to double count...

If you want to test a cell to see if it contains all items in a list, you can do so with a formula that uses the SEARCH function, with help from the ISNUMBER, SUMPRODUCT, and COUNTA functions.
Context
Let's say you...

To check a cell for one of several things, and return the first match found in the list, you can use an INDEX / MATCH formula that uses SEARCH or FIND to locate a match.
This is an array formula and must be entered...

To test a cell to see if contains certain words but not others, you can use an array formula based on the COUNT and SEARCH functions, wrapped in the AND function.
In the example shown, the formula in C5 is:
{=AND(...

To highlight cells that contain one of many text strings, you can use a formula based on the functions ISNUMBER and SEARCH, together with the SUMPRODUCT function. In the example shown, the conditional formatting applied...

To get the position of the first match that does not contain a specific value, you can use an array formula based on the MATCH, SEARCH, and ISNUMBER functions. In the example shown, the formula in E5 is:
{=MATCH(FALSE...

To test a cell for one of many strings, while excluding others, you can use a formula based on the SEARCH, ISNUMBER, and SUMPRODUCT functions.
In the example shown the formula in C5 is:
=(SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH...

If you have a list of things (words, substrings, etc) and want to find out which of these things appear in a cell, you can build a simple table and use a formula based on the SEARCH function.
Setup
Suppose you have a...

Note: Excel contains many built-in "presets" for highlighting values with conditional formatting, including a preset to highlight cells that contain specific text. However, if you want more flexibility, you can use your...

To test if one of several values exists in a range of cells, you can use a formula based on the SUMPRODUCT function. In the example, the formula in cell D5 is:
=SUMPRODUCT(--(rng=B5:D5))>0
How the formula works...