When we want to get the exact position of a given value in a column, row or table, we can use the **Excel MATCH function**. To fully understand how the function works, please read this post to the end.

*Figure 1: Using Excel MATCH function to find relative positions*

**General syntax of the formula**

**=MATCH (look_up, look_array, [match_type])**

Where;

**Lookup_value**– value to match in look_up array**Lookup_array**– refers to the range of cells or array reference**Match_type**– shows how you want to match. Default is 1

**How the MATCH function works**

We use the MATCH function when we want to find the relative position of an item in an array. This function is very flexible given that it has different matching modes.

When used together with INDEX, MATCH can also help to retrieve a value at the matched position.

**Different match types in MATCH function**

- Match_type 1: this shows that the MATCH function will find the largest value which is less or equal to the lookup_value. Here, you will have to sort the lookup_array in ascending order.
- Match_type 0: here, the MATCH function will find the first value that is exactly equal to the lookup_value. You don’t have to sort the lookup_array when zero is your preferred match_type.
- Match_type -1: the MATCH function will find the smallest value which is greater than or equal to the lookup_value. You will have to sort the lookup_array in a descending order.

**Note**

When the match_type is omitted, then it will be assumed to be 1.

Also, all these match_types will return the exact match of what you are seeking.

**Example**

In this example, we want to find the relative positions of Dennis and Juliet. To do this, proceed as follows:

**Step 1:** Prepare your data sheet, complete with the names, value column as well as Result column

**Step 2:** Click in the cell where you want to get the result

**Step 3:** Write the formula in the active cell, i.e. **=MATCH (C2,A1:A5,0)**

**Step 4:** Press Enter

**Step 5**: Do the same for the other items.

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