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Lookup last file version

For us to lookup last file version in a list, we can use a formula which is based on a LOOKUP function together with ISNUMBER and FIND functions. This post provides an elaborative way of how one can lookup latest file version in excel.

Figure 1: Using Lookup function to look up last file version

Syntax of the formula

=LOOKUP (2,1/(ISNUMBER(FIND(filename, range))), range)

Understanding how the formula works

  •         Uses LOOKUP function to look for and retrieve last matching file name
  •         LOOKUP value is 2
  •         Lookup_vector is 1/(ISNUMBER(FIND(filename, range)))
  •         The FIND function will look for  value in filename inside the range

The result for the FIND function looks like the one below;

{1; #VALUE; 1;1; #VALUE!; #VALUE!;1}

Here, 1 represents a match while #VALUE is an error representing non-matching file name. This goes to the ISNUMBER function and comes out as;


Note that the error value has been transformed to FALSE while the 1 becomes TRUE.

The array here is used as denominator with 1 as numerator. Result will look as the one below;

  • {1; #DIV/0!; 1;1; #DIV/0!; #DIV/0!;1}

This goes into LOOKUP value as lookup_vector. It is important to mention that the LOOKUP function works in approximate match mode only, and ignore all error values.

  • The LOOKUP function will thus look for 2, fail, then step back to previous number.

To further explain how this function works, let us consider the example below:


Figure 2. Example of Lookup last file version

Step 1: Enter your data in the excel spreadsheet

Step 2: Select the cell where you want the result to be displayed. It should be in front of cell labelled “Latest”.

Step 3: Input the formula =LOOKUP (2,1/(ISNUMBER(FIND(F2,A2:A9))),A2:A9)

Step 4: Press Enter

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