Affiliate Marketing

Index Match: The Higher Different to Vlookup

VLOOKUP is a kind of capabilities that make Excel nice. Though many might not discover it intuitive at first, it quickly turns into second nature and indispensable. Some even discover is life-changing. VLOOKUP has its points although, for one, it solely reads from left to proper. If it’s essential lookup a worth to the left of a reference column, you’ll need to rearrange your worksheet to make use of the perform.

VLOOKUP additionally canvases many columns when genuinely you might be solely utilizing two of them. the usual syntax solely references relative column values, in case you modify the desk you might be out of luck as soon as once more and must do some little bit of reorganizing and performance rewriting, which could be very tedious in massive workbooks. This additionally creates points in copying the perform to different columns.

There may be another although, INDEX + MATCH. Not solely does it replicate the performance however has its personal perks and bonuses. It’s one thing you could not have heard earlier than (particularly in case you don’t examine Excel for enjoyable) however by the tip of this text, you’ll be capable of put it into observe and reap the rewards.

Breaking Down INDEX + MATCH

One thing that many customers overlook is that Excel capabilities could be chained collectively and mixed to make one thing much more highly effective than the constituent elements. Every perform takes an argument, in case you want slightly extra energy or prolonged performance, these arguments could be made from different capabilities.


=INDEX(array, row quantity)

The INDEX perform takes a consumer array, a set of values resembling a column, and returns the worth of the cell at that individual place. For instance, I’ve a column of knowledge recording the positions from a race held sooner or later prior to now. I wish to know which driver completed in third place, to search out this I can merely enter,

=INDEX(B2:B6, three)

excel data example

and it will return Rusty Shackleford.

Easy however helpful. We now have the flexibility to return values inside an array.


=MATCH(lookup worth, lookup array, match sort)

MATCH() is one other easy perform, associated to the INDEX perform we simply lined. As a substitute of returning a worth although, it as an alternative returns a quantity signifying the relative place of a worth inside an array. MATCH requires the next arguments; the worth, the array to look, and the match sort. The match sort will often be set to zero however will depend on your utilization. zero signifies you solely need an actual match, 1 or -1 signifies if there isn’t any actual match you need the following closest worth.

Utilizing our race instance above, I do know the driving force I want to search out however I don’t know his place within the last race standings. For the reason that place is relative I want to ensure I cowl your entire outcomes ranging from the primary place.

=MATCH(“Kilgore Trout”, B2:B6, zero)

excel data example

This can return a worth of four. Since we began from the highest we all know Trout completed within the fourth place on this specific race.


Perhaps you see the place we’re headed now or possibly you skipped forward to get to the good things.  Utilizing INDEX + MATCH we will mix these two easy capabilities to make one thing related however extra versatile than our trusty VLOOKUP. Don’t fear if it’s essential learn by this a number of instances, it may be slightly difficult at first. When you grasp what’s going on although it’s very easy to rebuild it from the elements.

INDEX returns a selected worth. That is the first perform of VLOOKUP, given a set of parameters; you possibly can rapidly discover a wanted worth. Now the one factor we’re lacking is a option to discover the row place. If it’s important to discover this manually you lose the utility of a perform. Through the use of MATCH within the second argument we will take its output, a relative place, and push that into the Index perform, fixing that downside. Now we’ve got one thing that does the very same factor as VLOOKUP, with solely slightly bit extra typing.

Placing the Perform Into Follow

Utilizing the desk under, we’re all in favour of determining what product sort is related to a selected product ID.

excel data example 2

To make use of INDEX MATCH we begin with INDEX since finally we wish a selected worth returned moderately than a place. Contained in the INDEX we embody MATCH to return a place for our INDEX perform.


What is occurring right here is that I’m going to look column A for the worth of the row in column B, supplied by the Match perform.

Contained in the match perform, I specify that I must look by the Product ID codes in B2:B6, and ship again the place of the worth 8316. On this case, it’s in place four which is the equal of writing

=INDEX(A2:A6, four)

Excel runs the perform and finds the place within the array of the desired ID quantity. It takes that place and appears for a similar row in our A column, returning the truck sort for the particular ID. So, in the long run, we get the identical outcomes with slightly extra flexibility within the inputs.

The Perform’s Perks

INDEX + MATCH’s energy comes from the smaller knowledge choice. When you’ve got 15 columns however you might be solely utilizing numbers 1 and 15, why pull all the pieces else in? This may also help pace up the operating time for big knowledge units.

The second enhanced performance the that Index can learn left or proper, irrespective of the place you set the columns, INDEX is detached as to whether it’s to the left or proper of your preliminary array, in contrast to VLOOKUP. In the event you look once more on the instance above, that’s simply what we did, working from proper to left. The perform can even function a top quality assurance verify since you should manually specify the 2 columns you want moderately than enter a relative column quantity someplace inside your choice.

Want extra visuals? Watch a display recording of an Index Match instance the place we insert last urls into an advert copy template.


Go forward and mess around with INDEX + MATCH. It’s a really highly effective perform that may improve your lookup talents. As soon as it clicks, I’m positive you’ll be offered and by no means look again. There may be at all times a little bit of a studying curve when attempting one thing new, decide to utilizing Index Match for some time. It’ll be clunky at first however you’ll artwork seeing the advantages shortly.

Submit up to date by Jenna Kelly (prior publish date: 2/three/14)

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *