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How to Get the First Text Value with HLOOKUP

The HLOOKUP function is excel is fundamental when it comes to looking up and retrieving a text value in a given range of columns. This article looks at how one can get the first text value with HLOOKUP.

Figure 1: How to find first text value in a list in excel

General syntax of the formula

=HLOOKUP(“*”, range, 1, FALSE)

Understanding the formula

We use the HLOOKUP function when we want to get the first text value of a text string.

How the formula works

  • The HLOOKUP function is fundamental when it comes to extracting the first text value when given text strings in several columns.
  • The HLOOKUP function, together with the asterisk wildcard character (*) can help us in this
  • In the example above, we have the formula in cell E2 as =HLOOKUP("*",B2:D2,1,0)
  • Here, the wildcard value is the “*” which matches one or more text values.
  • To get the first text for the other columns in the table array, we need to copy down the formula down column E.
  • Given that we have only one row in the range, the row index number is 1.
  • We set the range lookup value to zero, which implies FALSE, to force exact match.
  • The function will find and return the first text value in each row that is found in column B through D.

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Another blog reader asked this question today on Excelchat:
Solution examples
I have a numeric identifier in column A with a corresponding numeric value (Let's call it Z) X columns below it. There are varying duplicated cells of the identifier before Z I also have a numeric value (Y) in Column B that I am trying to verify is the same value as Z. Is there a way to scan down Column A, identify Z, and match it to Y?
Solved by Z. E. in 40 mins
Hi, I have a problem with vlookup formula, I am not sure what am I doing wrong but it seems to not be working
Solved by K. F. in 40 mins
Use the Vlookup Function to complete the "employee" column of table 2. Use "job Id" from table 2 as your lookup_value(s) and table 1 as your reference.
Solved by C. H. in 16 mins
I need a formula to check one cell on the 1st sheet (e2) with a list on another sheet (Sheet1) in the A column, starting at A1
Solved by O. D. in 21 mins
If a cell in another sheet is populated I need a vlookup done. If the cell is not populated I need the cell to return blank.
Solved by T. D. in 60 mins

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