Perform a Partial Cell Match in Excel

September 2016

If you'd like to isolate cells in a Microsoft Excel data sheet, based on criteria that has a partial cell match, this can be done through the use of a MATCH function. When applied, the MATCH function searches for items in a range of cells, based on any given criteria. When found, the function will direct you to any cells that fit the criteria given.

This article will teach you how to use the MATCH formula to find data entries that are partially linked to one another. Please note that this formula will not necessarily isolate data entries that are identical to each other.

How To Perform a Partial Cell Match on Excel

The below example shows how to perform a similar, though not identical, cell match in Microsoft Excel without specifying the exact match string.

Assume that you would like to return some sort of confirmation statement that denotes that your data has a partial match (such as "ABC Learning Centers" and "ABC Learning Cents. Ltd"). When this formula is applied, any partial match will return a "Match," or "True" statement, allowing you to see that the two columns are somewhat matched.

Note that if your value is in columns A and B starting from Row 2, this formula should be written in column B2.

Enter
=MATCH("*"&LEFT(A2,5)&"*",B2:B29,0)
into your cell and drag it down.

The formula will choose the first 5 characters from cell A2 then compare them to column B. If found in column B, the formula will return a number that you may then place in your IF condition.

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