How To Select Rows that Contain String (Google Sheets Query)

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this tutorial, you will learn how to select rows that contain strings using a Google Sheets Query.

How To Select Rows that Contain String (Google Sheets Query)

In Google Sheets, the Query function is the most powerful and adaptive feature in the application. It’s a versatile and powerful tool that allows you to manipulate data in Google Sheets using data commands. This single-function replaces a slew of others and can replicate the majority of pivot table functionality.

A text string usually referred to as a string or just text, is a collection of characters used as data in spreadsheet software. Words make up the majority of text strings, although they can also include letters, numbers, special characters, the dash symbol, and the number sign.

Once you’re ready, we’ll get started by utilizing real-world examples to show you how to select rows that contain strings using Google Sheets Query.

Understand Google Sheets Query

Before using an example, you will need to understand how does a Google Sheets query work.

=QUERY(data, query, [headers])

Google Sheets query requires 3 arguments:

  1. the data range you want to look at
  2. the query you want to run, in quotation marks
  3. an optional number indicating the number of header rows in your data

Select Rows that Contain Strings using Google Sheets Query

Before we begin we will need a group of data to be used for the Google Sheets query formula.

Step 1

Know what string we want to select from the entire data range. In this example, we want to select only the rows containing the word Burger.

Step 2

To begin the query formula, we select an empty cell to input the formula. In this example, it will be K1. Then, we will insert an equal symbol followed by ‘QUERY’ and an open bracket. There will be a blue question mark at the side, you can click on it to reveal the arguments needed for this function to work.


Step 3

Next, we insert our argument. We will select A1: I51 as our data range, which is our first argument. Then, we will insert “SELECT B, C where C contains ‘BURGER’”, which is our second argument. Always remember to close any formulas with a closing bracket to signify that the formula is now complete.


Step 4

Once you press Enter, the rows containing the string ‘Burger’ from column C will appear. It will look something like this.


Take Note!

  1. Google Sheets Query is sensitive to upper and lower case, hence if you typed ‘Burger’ instead of ‘BURGER’, the function will return no data containing this string.
  2. The data returned from the Query function will not be formulated. You can edit the data to your own preferences.


That’s all there is to it. You are welcome to copy the example spreadsheet below to see how it is done. The most crucial lesson is to enjoy yourself while doing it.

Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet

In this tutorial, I covered how to make categories in google sheets. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.