Like a lot of people I habitually use a tilde ~ separator to parse out data in spreadsheets. Today after collecting a large data set of text in Power Grep that was exported to a .csv file, I realized that I needed to remove the tilde separators the grep utility had entered in the text, because they not only were being used as field separators, they were also included as misreads in bad OCR. If you've tried doing this, you will have noticed that Excel won't find a tilde. It's as though the tilde is invisible. See Figure 1 below.
Excel uses a tilde as marker to search for other characters which can serve as a signifier in a search. For example if you'd like to search and remove all occurences where the letters "Lo" begin a word, you would just need to search for Lo* , and replace with nothing, and "Loan", "Lollipop", "Locust", and "Lopez" would all be deleted. If you need to search for and remove all of the asterisks on your worksheet you need to find and replace, ~* with nothing. To take out the tilde just search for ~~ and replace it with nothing.