Using Wild Card Characters When Searching MS Access Queries

Using Wild Card Characters When Searching MS Access Queries

With your Access queries, everyone should be aware of the commonly used two wild card characters when searching your database records which are the ‘*’ (asterisk) and the ‘?’ (question mark).

Here’s a quick video tutorial to refresh your memory (particularly for the beginner!).

As the video quickly explains, you use the ‘*‘ and the ‘?‘ to find any number of characters or a single character placement for your text based values.

Therefore, the following results would look like image below if you were searching for names beginning with a ‘J’ & ending with a ‘N using the common two wild card characters.

wild card characters

Using Wild Card Characters When Searching MS Access Queries 

There are some ‘characteristics’ with Microsoft Access you will need to know when trying to search for the data itself should there be the need to find an ‘*‘ or ‘?‘.

In fact, trying to locate the ‘#‘ (hash) or ‘[ ]‘ (square brackets) will need special attention too as they are also reserved operators for your Access queries.

The method needed here is to use the ‘[ ]’ (square brackets) wrapped around the text string match to encapsulate the search term. Therefore, the following image may help to realise when searching for a ‘[‘, ‘*‘, ‘#‘ and ‘?‘ you will need this convention to achieve success:

wild card characters example

The square brackets are also used for text based range searching too and to know more about this technique and all the other query criteria across the different data types, you may want to consider my eBook on How to build Access Database Queries which is one of my seven eBook series.

This entry was posted in MS Access, Queries and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Using Wild Card Characters When Searching MS Access Queries

  1. Ben says:

    Please email me at with your full name and email you used to sign up with and I will check our records and reply sooner.
    Kind regards

  2. Jorge Juarez says:

    I was subscribed to your tips Email. I wonder if you could re-instate your tips and to re-load the EBooks I bought about for years ago. I got sick and I lost my memory and I am recuperating my memory and I would like to practice on MS Access program, Hope I hear from you, Jorge Juarez.

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