Using Excel to Lookup Partial Text Match [2 Easy Ways]

In this article, I will show you how to use Excel to look up partial text matches. For this, we can use VLOOKUP or INDEX MATCH functions combo.

In the following image, you are seeing some company names, their origin country, and market category. We want to return the full company name using a partial match of the name.

Say, if we look up with Diamond, we want that full company name “Aber Diamond Ltd.” will return. Or if we search with Abbey, we want “Abbey National plc” will be returned.

Excel lookup partial text match (using VLOOKUP)

In cell G3, we use this formula: =VLOOKUP(“*”&F3&”*”,company,1,0)

And then copy-paste the formula for other cells in the column. And this is what we get.

Excel lookup partial text match

How does this formula work?

This is a very simple formula. Only the complex part of this formula is this part: “*”&F3&”*”

If we use the value of cell F3 as the replacement, it will look like “*Diamond*”.

This character (*) is actually Excel’s wildcard character and it is replaced by any characters.

So, this text “*Diamond*” means: it is any text that has Diamond, also having any characters before and after Diamond.

We are using “*Diamond*” as VLOOKUP function’s lookup_value. So, VLOOKUP will search for any text in the lookup_array that contains Diamond text.

I hope this explanation clears the idea of how this formula actually works.

Excel lookup partial text match (using INDEX Match combo)

This time, we shall use this formula in cell G3: =INDEX($B$3:$B$21,MATCH(“*”&F3&”*”,$B$3:$B$21,0))

And we get the same results when copy and paste the formula for other cells in the column.

Check out the following page.

Excel lookup partial text match using Index Match functions combo

Download Working File

These are my two ways of using Excel to lookup a partial text match. If you know of any other technique to do this, let me know in the comment box.

Further Readings



Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! It took me some time to be a fan of Excel. But now I am a die-hard fan of MS Excel. I learn new ways of doing things with Excel and share them here. Not only how-to guide on Excel, but you will get also topics on Finance, Statistics, Data Analysis, and BI. Stay tuned! You can checkout my courses at Udemy:

  1. Thanks Sir,

    It’s Very Good Idea.

  2. Fantastic, very simple, congratulations

  3. This is great! But how can I get multiple result on 1 lookup value?

  4. Hi Kaiser

    A question, what if I have 3 Diamond in same column, how would you add to get the other 2 company matches using a formula?



    • Hi TONY O’BRIEN,

      Sorry for the late reply. I am replying to you on behalf of Exceldemy. To get multiple companies, you can use the formula below in Cell G13:
      =INDEX($B$3:$B$21,SMALL(IF(ISNUMBER((SEARCH($F$13,$B$3:$B$21))),MATCH(ROW($B$3:$B$21),ROW($B$3:$B$21)), ""),ROWS($A$1:A1)),COLUMNS($A$1:A1))
      Remember, it is an array formula. You can follow the steps below to get the results.
      1. Firstly, type Diamond in Cell F13.
      2. Secondly, type the above formula in Cell G13.
      3. Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter together.
      4. After that, drag the Fill Handle down to get all 3 values.

      For more information, you can check the article below.
      I hope this will help you to solve your problem.

  5. Wonderful formula Kawser

  6. i have the addresses of multiple clients. I want to match these addresses how many clients are with the same address. But the address is written in different ways. How to match these addresses by matching some letters partially. example is as under
    1)Bhandari JS, HOUSE NO. 112-116-1205/1, R STREET, JIMTARA GROUND, SOANDSO VILLAGE 100001
    2) JS Bhandari, H no.112/116-1205/1, street R, ZIMTARA GROUNDS, SO&SO VILL, PIN


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