The asterisk as a wildcard (*)
The first wildcard we want to examine is the asterisk symbol. This is the most general wildcard of the group.
The asterisk wildcard can take on the value of any number of characters.
For instance, if we substitute the asterisk like ‘Sh*’, it could represent strings like ‘Sheet’, ‘Show’, ‘She’, ‘Shake’, ‘Shoes’, ‘Shirts’, and so on.
It can be placed at the beginning of a string like “*-01”. This would recognize all values that end with ‘-01’ regardless of the number of characters preceding it.
The usefulness of the asterisk as a wildcard should start to become a bit more obvious to you by now, right ?
Now that we have an explanation of how the asterisk wildcard works, let’s take a look at a practical example of how we might use it with a filter on a column of data.
Let’s see exactly how you can use the asterisk wildcard
Consider: A column of organization names, some of which contain the ‘LLC’ abbreviation.
We can now filter on all those organizations in the list that are an LLC using the asterisk wildcard.
And then we get the following result…
Note that once we type ‘*LLC’ into the text box of the filter, all the entries without ‘LLC’ in it are eliminated.
Once we click ‘OK’ our list is now filtered on all entries that have ‘LLC’ at the end of the string.
Let’s see what happens when we change our filter to ‘*C’.
Notice that the filter now returns ‘WASTE MANAGEMENT OF MO INC’ in addition to all the previous organizations returned with the ‘*LLC’ search.
By eliminating the ‘LL’ from our previous filter we have further generalized and now all values ending in ‘C’ are included in the filter.
The wildcard also works in this case regardless of letter case.
We can also expand our filter by applying the asterisk to the beginning of our search string if the need calls for it.
Notice here that we were able to capture more entries from the list by expanding our wildcard search to include any number of characters both prior to and after the term ‘city’.
By using ‘city*’ we would have never captured all entries with ‘city’ in its string.