While working with larger data sets, many times we try to filter out similar types of values. One of these types of matching is called Fuzzy Match, where the values are not exactly the same, but still, they are matched based on their similarity.

Today I will be showing how you use the **VLOOKUP** function of Excel to search for **Fuzzy Match**.

An Introduction to Fuzzy Match

A **Fuzzy Match **is a type of partial match.

In these types of matches, one text does not match fully to the other text. But the important sections of the text do match the other text.

In the given example, the book **“The History of India during the World War”** contains three important sections: **History**, **India**, and **World War**.

Therefore all the books that contain either one or more than one of these sections will fuzzily match the book.

So, the fuzzy matches are:

**The History of the Second World War****History of the Ancient Greece****World War: Causes and Effects****The Indus Civilization: An Ancient History****India Wins Freedom****Adolf Hitler: Before and After the World War****The Discovery of India**

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**VLOOKUP Fuzzy Match in Excel**

Here we’ve got a data set with the **Names** of some books of a bookshop called Kingfisher Bookstore.

Our objective today is to use the **VLOOKUP** function of Excel to generate some **Fuzzy Matches**.

**1. VLOOKUP Fuzzy Match Using Wildcards (Matching the Entire Lookup_Value)**

First of all, we shall generate some fuzzy matches using the wildcard character the **Asterisk (*) **symbol.

But remember, you have to match the entire **lookup_value** in this method, not the separate parts of the **lookup_value**.

For example, we can find a book containing the text **“Second World War”** in this way.

Only the books having the full text **“Second World War” **will match.

The formula is simple. Place an **Asterisk (*)** symbol on both ends of the **lookup_value **text.

The formula will be:

`=VLOOKUP("*Second World War*",B4:B21,1,FALSE)`

Or you can use a cell reference in place of the original text too. Use the **Ampersand (&)** symbol to merge them into a single text. Like this:

`=VLOOKUP("*"&D4&"*",B4:B21,1,FALSE)`

To know more about **VLOOKUP** using wildcards, visit this article.

**2. Fuzzy Match Using VBA**

The method in the previous section fulfills our purpose partially, but not to the fullest.

Now we will derive a formula using a **VBA** code that will fulfill our purpose almost completely.

Open a **VBA** window and inserts the following **VBA** code in a new module:

**Code:**

```
Function FUZZYMATCH(str As String, rng As Range)
str = LCase(str)
Dim Remove_1(5) As Variant
Remove_1(0) = ","
Remove_1(1) = "."
Remove_1(2) = ":"
Remove_1(3) = "-"
Remove_1(4) = ";"
Remove_1(5) = "?"
Dim Rem_Str_1 As String
Rem_Str_1 = str
Dim rem_count_1 As Variant
For Each rem_count_1 In Remove_1
Rem_Str_1 = Replace(Rem_Str_1, rem_count_1, "")
Next rem_count_1
Words = Split(Rem_Str_1)
Dim i As Variant
For i = 0 To UBound(Words)
If Len(Words(i)) = 1 Or Len(Words(i)) = 2 Then
Words(i) = Replace(Words(i), Words(i), " bt ")
End If
Next i
Dim Final_Remove(26) As Variant
Final_Remove(0) = "the"
Final_Remove(1) = "and"
Final_Remove(2) = "but"
Final_Remove(3) = "with"
Final_Remove(4) = "into"
Final_Remove(5) = "before"
Final_Remove(6) = "after"
Final_Remove(7) = "beyond"
Final_Remove(8) = "here"
Final_Remove(9) = "there"
Final_Remove(10) = "his"
Final_Remove(11) = "her"
Final_Remove(12) = "him"
Final_Remove(13) = "can"
Final_Remove(14) = "could"
Final_Remove(15) = "may"
Final_Remove(16) = "might"
Final_Remove(17) = "shall"
Final_Remove(18) = "should"
Final_Remove(19) = "will"
Final_Remove(20) = "would"
Final_Remove(21) = "this"
Final_Remove(22) = "that"
Final_Remove(23) = "have"
Final_Remove(24) = "has"
Final_Remove(25) = "had"
Final_Remove(26) = "during"
Dim w As Variant
Dim ww As Variant
For w = 0 To UBound(Words)
For Each ww In Final_Remove
If Words(w) = ww Then
Words(w) = Replace(Words(w), Words(w), " bt ")
Exit For '
End If
Next ww
Next w
Dim Lookup As Variant
Dim x As Integer
x = rng.Rows.count
ReDim Lookup(x - 1)
Dim j As Variant
j = 0
Dim k As Variant
For Each k In rng
Lookup(j) = k
j = j + 1
Next k
Dim Lower As Variant
ReDim Lower(UBound(Lookup))
Dim u As Variant
For u = 0 To UBound(Lookup)
Lower(u) = LCase(Lookup(u))
Next u
Dim out As Variant
ReDim out(UBound(Lookup), 0)
Dim count As Integer
co = 0
mark = 0
Dim m As Variant
For m = 0 To UBound(Lower)
Dim n As Variant
For Each n In Words
Dim o As Variant
For o = 1 To Len(Lower(m))
If Mid(Lower(m), o, Len(n)) = n Then
out(co, 0) = Lookup(m)
co = co + 1
mark = mark + 1
Exit For
End If
Next o
If mark > 0 Then
Exit For
End If
Next n
mark = 0
Next m
Dim output As Variant
ReDim output(co - 1, 0)
Dim z As Variant
For z = 0 To co - 1
output(z, 0) = out(z, 0)
Next z
FUZZYMATCH = output
End Function
```

This code builds a function called **FUZZYMATCH**.

Save it (Visit this article to see how to save a **VBA** code in Excel)

This **FUZZYMATCH** function finds out all the **Fuzzy Matches** of a **Lookup Value** directly.

The **Syntax** of this **FUZZYMATCH** function is:

`=FUZZYMATCH(lookup_value,lookup_range)`

To find out the **Fuzzy Matches** of the book **“The History of India during the World War”**, enter this **lookup_value** in a cell (**D4** in this example) and enter this formula in another cell:

`=FUZZYMATCH(D4,B4:B21)`

See, we have found out all the Fuzzy Matches of the book **“The History of India during the World War”**

- Here
**D4**is the cell reference of the**lookup_value (“The History of India during the World War”).** **B4:B2**1 is the**lookup_range**.

Let’s find out the **Fuzzy Matches** of another book called **“A Notebook of the Causes behind the Crime of Big Cities”**.

Enter this **lookup_value** in a cell (**D4** in this example) and enter this formula in another cell:

`=FUZZYMATCH(D4,B4:B21)`

**Explanation of the Formula**

- The
**FUZZYMATCH**function is the function we built in**VBA**. It takes a string called**lookup_value**and a range of cells called**lookup_range**and returns an array of all the**Fuzzy Matches**of the string. - Therefore
**FUZZYMATCH(D4,B4:B21)**returns an array of all the**Fuzzy Matches**of the string in cell**D4**from the range**B4:B21**.

**3. Fuzzy Match Using Excel’s Fuzzy Lookup Add-in**

Microsoft Excel provides an **Add-in** called Fuzzy Lookup. Using it, you can match two tables for **Fuzzy Lookup**.

Download and install the **Add-in** from this link.

After downloading and installing it successfully, you will find the **Fuzzy Lookup Add-in** your Excel Toolbar like so.

Then arrange the data sets into two tables that you want to match.

Here I’ve got two tables containing two lists of books from two bookshops called Robert Bookshop and Martin Bookshop.

Next, go to Fuzzy **Lookup>Fuzzy Lookup** in Excel Toolbar.

Click it. You will get a **Fuzzy Lookup** table created in the side panel of your workbook.

In the **Left Table** and **Right Table** options, choose the names of the two tables.

For the sake of this example, choose **Robert** and **Martin**.

Then in the **Columns** section, choose the names of the columns of each table.

In the **Match Column** section, select the type of match that you want between the two columns. For **Fuzzy Match,** select **Default**.

Finally, click on **Go**. You will get the matching ratio of the tables in a new table.

**Conclusion**

Using these methods, you can use the **VLOOKUP** function of Excel to search for **Fuzzy Match.** Though these methods are not 100% efficient, still they are very useful. Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask us.