In Excel, some functions exist to be used to increase functionality when paired with other functions. It’s simple enough to find the August row and scan over to the Georgia column, but how do you write an Excel formula to find that value for you? MATCH() will find either an exact match for lookup_value or, if the value is not in the range, it will find the largest value that is less than lookup_value. MATCH() will find either an exact match for lookup_value or, if the value is not in the range, it will find the smallest value that is greater than lookup_value.
The idea behind combining these two formulas is this: VLOOKUP() requires a column number, and MATCH() finds the column number.
Once you become familiar with these tools, you’ll have complete flexibility with your lookups—even if the data table itself is selected by formula, too.


The formula would be simple using a VLOOKUP() for the month of August if you know which column Georgia figures are in. The next section covers the basics of how to use the function; following sections provide examples combining MATCH() with VLOOKUP(). This formula allows the user to type a state in cell B15 and that value is read by the MATCH() function.
If you choose this option, however, keep in mind that you are more likely to introduce errors in complex formulas and they are more difficult for later users to decipher. You’ll need a MATCH() formula to find the row number and another MATCH() to find the column number. A former product executive at Nationwide Insurance, she uses her more than twenty years of experience in insurance product management and actuarial services to help individuals and entrepreneurial organizations with their geek needs.


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It’s often a good idea to keep the formulas separate, even if they’re hidden on a non-printing portion of the page.
You could find the Georgia column manually and type it into the VLOOKUP formula, but you’d have to do that manual process all over again for each state—and the likelihood of human error increases each time! In short, you can use MATCH to look for your data in a specified location and determine where that match exists.



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