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Excel MATCH Function Tutorial

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Find the Position of Data with the MATCH Function
Excel MATCH Function Tutorial

Excel MATCH Function Tutorial

© Ted French

MATCH Function Overview

The MATCH function can be used to find the position of specified data in a list or a selected range of cells.

The MATCH Function Syntax and Arguments

The syntax for the MATCH function is:

= MATCH ( Lookup_value, Lookup_array, Match_type )

Lookup_value - (required) The value that you want to find in the list of data. This argument can be a number, text, logical value, or a cell reference.

Lookup_array - (required) The range of cells being searched.

Match_type -(optional) Tells Excel how to match the Lookup_value with values in the Lookup_array. Choices: -1, 0, or 1. The default value for this argument is 1.

  • if the Match_type = 1 or is omitted: MATCH finds the largest value that is less than or equal to the Lookup_value. The Lookup_array data must be sorted in ascending order.
  • if the match_type = 0: MATCH finds the first value that is exactly equal to the Lookup_value. The Lookup_array data can be sorted in any order.
  • if the Match_type = -1: MATCH finds the smallest value that is greater than or equal to the Lookup_value. The Lookup_array data must be sorted in descending order.

Example Using Excel's MATCH Function to Find Data

As can be seen in the image above, this example will use the MATCH function to find the position of the term Widgets in an inventory list.

  1. Enter the following data into cells D1 to F8.
  2. Cell    Data
     D1  -  Parts Inventory
     D2  -  Item
    
     E2  -  Location
    
     F2  -  List
     F3  -  Cogs
     F4  -  Bearings
     F5  -  Widgets
     F6  -  Loose Screws
     F7  -  Washers
     F8  -  Bolts
    
  3. Click on cell D3 in the worksheet and type the word Widgets as this is the term we are looking to match in the Inventory List

  4. Click on cell E3 - this is where the results of the function will be displayed

  5. Click on the Formulas tab of the ribbon menu

  6. Choose Lookup and Reference from the ribbon to open the function drop down list

  7. Click on MATCH in the list to bring up the function's dialog box.

  8. In the dialog box, click on the Lookup_value line.

  9. Click on cell D3 in the spreadsheet to enter the cell reference into the dialog box.

  10. Click on the Lookup_array line in the dialog box.

  11. Highlight cells F3 to F8 in the worksheet to enter the range into the dialog box

  12. Click on the Match_type line in the dialog box

  13. Enter the number " 0 " (no quotes) on this line to find an exact match to the data in cell D3

  14. Click OK to complete the function and close the dialog box

  15. The number " 3 " appears in cell D3 since the term Widgets is the third item from the top in the inventory list

  16. When you click on cell D3 the complete function =MATCH (D3, F3:F8, 0) appears in the formula bar above the worksheet

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