Excel allows us to lookup values using an approximate match with **INDEX** and **MATCH** functions. The MATCH function returns a row for a value in a table, while the INDEX returns a value for that row. This step by step tutorial will assist all levels of Excel users to learn how to perform an approximate match in Excel.

*Figure 1. The final result of the formula*

**Syntax of the INDEX formula**

The generic formula for the INDEX function is:

**=INDEX(array, row_num, column_num)**

The parameters of the INDEX function are:

**array**– a range of cells where we want to get a data**row_num**– a number of a row in the array for which we want to get a value**column_num**– a column in the array which returns a value.

**Syntax of the MATCH formula**

The generic formula for the MATCH function is:

**=MATCH(lookup_value, lookup_array, [match_type])**

The parameters of the MATCH function are:

**lookup_value**– a value which we want to find in the lookup_array**lookup_array**– the array where we want to find a value**[match_type]**– a type of match. We put 1 as an approximate match. If the exact match is not found the first value less than lookup_value is returned.

**Setting up Our Data for the Formula**

Our table consists of 5 columns: “Delivery Number” (column B), “Product ID” (column C), “Delivery Date” (column D), “Amount” (column E) and “Product Description” (column F).

In column F, we want to populate a Product Description from the Lookup table in the range H3:I9. This table consists of 2 columns: “Product ID” (column H) and “Product Description” (column I). Two tables are joined by the columns “Customer ID”.

*Figure 2. Data that we will use in the example*

**Performing an Approximate Match Using the INDEX and MATCH Formula**

We want to get a product description in the cell F3, from the lookup table H3:I9, based on the Product ID 103 in the cell C3. If Product ID 103 is not found in the lookup table, we want to the first closest value less than 103. In our case, it is 102.

The formula looks like:

**=INDEX($H$3:$I$9, MATCH(C3, $H$3:$H$9, 1), 2)**

The **lookup_value** parameter of the MATCH function is C3. The **lookup_array** is $H$3:$H$9, while the **match_type** is 1, which means the approximate match. The result of the MATCH function is the **row_num **parameter of the INDEX function. The **array** the range $H$3:$I$9.

To apply the formula, we need to follow these steps:

- Select cell F3 and click on it
- Insert the formula:
`=INDEX($H$3:$I$9, MATCH(C3, $H$3:$H$9, 1), 2)`

- Press enter
- Drag the formula down to the other cells in the column by clicking and dragging the little “+” icon at the bottom-right of the cell.

* Figure 3. *Using the INDEX and MATCH Formula

The MATCH function will return 2, as Product ID 103 is not in the lookup table H3:I9. The closest value less than 103 is 102, in row 2. Therefore, the INDEX function returns the Product description from the second row. The result in the F3 is “Product B”.

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