Once people become familiar with using wildcard characters (to see more visit the Wild Card Blog), they discover that an Excel find replace * (asterisk) does not seem to work (this also applies to Excel find replace ? (question mark)).
The reason for this is that in Excel’s language, a * or a ? is telling Excel to search for any number and type of character (asterisk) or a specific number of any characters (question mark).
In order to tell Excel to NOT treat these items as wildcard characters you have to put a tilde (~) in front of it. The tilde is normally found next to your 1 button and you generally need to push SHIFT to activate it. Excel then searches for question marks and asterisk’s in the text instead of other characters.