The way to use wildcards with the XLOOKUP() operate in Excel

hand indicate spreadsheet on the screen with pen
Picture: Luca Lorenzelli/Adobe Inventory

Lookup capabilities are nice for locating values that match one other worth. Because of XLOOKUP() this activity is less complicated than ever, and it even helps wildcards! On this article, I’ll present you the right way to use the asterisk wildcard (*) to create a extra versatile lookup worth. As an alternative of discovering a precise or virtually match, dropping in a wildcard means that you can work with an easier search string. This setup is useful once you keep in mind a part of the search string, however not all of it. On this article, I’ll present you the right way to use a wildcard within the XOOKUP() operate’s standards argument, or search string.

SEE: Software program Set up Coverage (TechRepublic)

You might use VLOOKUP(), retaining a number of issues in thoughts: You have to restructure the supply information as a result of the return worth is to the left of the lookup worth, and VLOOKUP() can’t deal with that. I’m utilizing XLOOKUP() going ahead although. Until I run into a particular cause to make use of one of many older lookup capabilities, I see no benefit to utilizing them. In the event you’d wish to study XLOOKUP(), learn The way to use the newish XLOOKUP() dynamic array operate in Excel.

I’m utilizing Microsoft 365 on a Home windows 10 64-bit system. Excel’s XLOOKUP() operate is accessible in Microsoft 365 and Excel 2021, and Excel for the net. To your comfort, you possibly can obtain the demonstration .xlsx information. This text assumes that you’ve primary Excel abilities, however even a newbie ought to be capable to comply with the directions to success.

Setting issues up

Let’s suppose that you simply use Excel to trace merchandise for a connoisseur meals distributor. As you possibly can see in Determine A, the product names are a bit advanced, and it is perhaps tough to recollect them precisely. When looking out, you would possibly take into account filtering or supplying an information validation management, however in each circumstances, the product record is lengthy and a bit awkward to work with. The subsequent step is perhaps to make use of XLOOKUP(), which returns a single worth based mostly on a lookup worth—on this case, the product names as follows:

See also  The 6 most important things to know about IoT in medicine


=XLOOKUP($I$2,$D$3:$D$47, $C$3:$C$47)

You have to enter the total product title. For example, when you attempt to discover “Uncle Bob’s Natural Dried Pears” by getting into solely Pears you’ll be disenchanted (Determine A). (Keep in mind, when you’re not utilizing a Desk object, your references gained’t look the identical as a result of Desk objects use construction referencing.)

Determine A

We’ll need wildcards to find some products by product name.
We’ll want wildcards to search out some merchandise by product title.

The error worth is an efficient clue; #N/A way the operate can’t discover the worth in I2. In the event you see a #VALUE error, one thing’s unsuitable with the operate itself. In the event you paste the worth from column D into I2, the operate works as anticipated, so it’s the enter worth and never the operate. There’s no thriller concerned. XLOOKUP() desires a precise match, and the present setup can’t get the job completed. Nonetheless, throwing a wildcard into the combination can!

The way to add a wildcard in Excel

Don’t fear when you’re not accustomed to wildcards, however they’re one thing it is best to evaluation as a result of they actually come in useful. We’ll be utilizing the asterisk character (*), which finds any variety of characters. For instance, to search out your complete product title utilizing solely pears as a lookup worth, you’d use *pears* because the search string.

You possibly can’t simply plug within the asterisk character although. When including wildcards to a operate on this manner, it’s essential to concatenate the delimiter and the reference. Inside this context, concatenation means to mix components that Excel evaluates into one string and delimiter is a personality that helps within the course of by figuring out the info kind. We’ll use the greenback signal character ($) to mix components.

See also  Microsoft Defender vs Trellix: EDR Software program Comparability

Now, let’s look again on the unique XLOOKUP()


$I$2 identifies the lookup worth, Table2[ProductName] is the column the lookup worth must match, and Table2[UnitPrice] is the return worth when a match is discovered. In plain English, this operate returns the worth from the UnitPrice column the place the ProductName worth matches the worth in I2.

The one modification we have to make is to the lookup worth, $I$4. Particularly, we have to add two wildcards and use the double citation characters as string delimiters

"*" & $I$4 & "*"

which consider to *$!I$4*. The string delimiters across the asterisk characters are required. The modified operate

=XLOOKUP("*"& $I$4 &"*",Table2[ProductName],Table2[UnitPrice],2,2)

handles the wildcard appropriately, as proven in Determine B.

=XLOOKUP("*"& $I$4 &"*",Table2[ProductName],Table2[UnitPrice],2,2)

Determine B

XLOOKUP() returns a match using the * wildcard.
XLOOKUP() returns a match utilizing the * wildcard.

The one factor I wish to level out is that this operate returns a single worth. Strive getting into Sir into I4. As you possibly can see in Determine C, the operate returns $81, matching Sir Rodneys’ Marmalade in D21. Do you see the issue? The worth in D22 additionally incorporates the string Sir. That is the one hitch that is perhaps an issue.

Determine C

If you have duplicates, you might want to alert users.
When you’ve got duplicates, you would possibly wish to alert customers.

A warning about duplicates in Excel
When utilizing XLOOKUP() to discover a single worth, you should utilize a wildcard as proven, however the risk exists that the operate won’t return the correct worth if the search string exists in a couple of worth. For that reason, you would possibly wish to alert the consumer that different matching information exist.

We are able to method this alert in a variety of alternative ways, however the easiest methodology is to make use of conditional formatting. On this case, we have to alert the consumer when the search string matches two or extra information. First, we have to resolve what to focus on: The ends in J4 or the precise merchandise. You might do both or do each. We’ll do the previous utilizing the next expression

See also  Three reasons business users should upgrade from M1- to M2-powered iPad Pros

=COUNTIF(Table2[ProductName],"*" & $I$4& "*")>1

in cell K4. This operate returns TRUE if the search string (at the moment Sir) happens greater than as soon as within the ProductName column and FALSE if not. In the event you want that customers not see this helper operate, scale back the column width and even cover the column (I don’t actually advocate the latter as a result of capabilities are straightforward to overlook and discover later.) Now you’re able to create the conditional formatting rule:

  1. Choose I4:J4. On the House tab, click on Conditional Formatting within the Kinds group and select New Rule from the ensuing dropdown.
  2. Within the high pane of the ensuing dialog, click on Use a Components to Decide Which Cells to Format the management within the backside pane, enter
  3. Click on Format.
  4. Click on the Font tab, select a vivid eye-catching shade, akin to pink from the Shade dropdown, after which click on OK. Determine D reveals the operate and the format.
  5. Click on OK to return to the sheet. Discover that the rule makes use of the pink font for Sir and $81 as a result of the search string, Sir, happens a couple of within the ProductName column.

Determine D

Use this conditional formatting rule to highlight the search string.
Use this conditional formatting rule to focus on the search string.

In the event you’re the one one who makes use of the sheet, you possibly can cease right here. It’s unlikely you’ll want a reminder as to what the spotlight means. At this level, discovering the duplicates within the title column is a fast Discover activity. Merely drop *Sir* into the Discover What management.

Leave a Reply