# Guide to Use Excel Index Match Function Easy & Fast

July 27, 2023 1.4K views

In the world of Excel, the Index Match excel function is a valuable tool that many desire to use, but its efficiency and proper application often pose challenges.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide easy and quick solutions for harnessing the potential of Excel's Index Match function. Additionally, we introduce WPS Office, a free and convenient alternative to Microsoft Office, to further enhance your productivity.

## Part 1. Use Index Matches in Excel

This section provides step-by-step tutorials and practical examples, making data retrieval a breeze. Unleash the power of Index Match and take your Excel skills to new heights!

### #1 How to Use the Match Formula

The Match formula in Excel is a versatile tool that enables you to find the relative position of a specified value within a given range. By understanding how to use the Match formula effectively, you'll enhance your data lookup capabilities and streamline your spreadsheet workflows.

#### Here's a simple step-by-step guide on how to use the Match formula in Excel:

Step 2. Select the cell where you want the Match formula result to appear.

Step 3. Type "=MATCH(" in the selected cell.

Step 4. Enter the value you want to find within the data range after the opening parenthesis.

Step 5. Specify the range of cells where you want Excel to search for the value after a comma.

Step 6. Optionally, set the match type:

• 1 for an exact match (default)

• 0 for the nearest smaller value

• -1 for the nearest larger value

Step 7. With a closing parenthesis, submit the formula by pressing Enter.

Step 8. Excel will display the relative position of the value within the data range.

#### Example for #1 How to Use the Match Formula:

Let's say you have a list of student names in column A and their corresponding scores in column B. You want to find the position of a specific student's score in the list.

Data:

#### To use the Match formula to find the position of Sarah's score (92):

Step 1. Open Excel, then choose the cell in which you want the outcome to appear.

Step 2. Put “=MATCH(92, B:B, 0)” in the cell you’ve chosen.

Step 3. Press Enter.

The result will be "2" because Sarah's score of 92 is in the second position (row 2) in the list.

### #2 How to Use the Index Formula

You can get data from a particular row or column in an array using the powerful Index formula. Understanding how to use the Index formula will enable you to efficiently extract information from large datasets and enhance data analysis.

#### Here is a detailed explanation on how to accomplish it:

Step 1. Open Microsoft Excel and open the spreadsheet containing your data.

Step 2. Select the cell where you want the Index formula result to appear.

Step 3. Type "=INDEX(" in the selected cell.

Step 4. Specify the range of cells from which you want to retrieve data after the opening parenthesis.

Step 5. Enter the row number or row array for the data you want to retrieve after a comma.

Step 6. Optionally, you can enter the column number or column array for the data you want to retrieve after another comma. If omitted, Excel assumes you want to retrieve data from the entire row specified in Step 5.

Step 7. With a closing parenthesis, submit the formula by pressing Enter.

Step 8. Excel will display the data you requested from the specified range based on the row and column number or array you provided.

#### Example for #2 How to Use the Index Formula:

Using the same data as above, let's use the Index formula to retrieve the score of a specific student based on their position in the list.

To retrieve the score of the second student (Sarah):

Step 1. Open Excel, then choose the cell in which you want the outcome to appear.

Step 2. Type "=INDEX(B:B, 2)" in the selected cell.

Step 3. Press Enter.

The result will be "92" because the second student's score (Sarah) in the list is 92.

### #3 Combine Index and Match

Combining the Index and Match formulas opens up a world of possibilities for advanced data retrieval. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to merge these functions seamlessly, allowing you to search for specific data points within your Excel worksheets effectively.

#### Here's a simple step-by-step guide on how to combine the Index and Match functions in Excel:

Step 2. Select the cell where you want the combined Index Match formula result.

Step 3. Type "=INDEX(" in the selected cell.

Step 4. Specify the range of cells containing the data you want to retrieve.

Step 5. Type ",MATCH(" after the range.

Step 6. Enter the value you want to find within the specified range.

Step 7. Close the Match function with a closing parenthesis ")".

Step 8. Close the Index function with another closing parenthesis ")".

Step 9. Press Enter.

#### Example for #3 Combine Index and Match:

Continuing with the same data, let's combine the Index and Match functions to retrieve a student's score based on their name.

To retrieve John's score using Index and Match:

Step 1. Open Excel, then choose the cell in which you want the outcome to appear.

Step 2. Type "=INDEX(B:B, MATCH("John", A:A, 0))" in the selected cell.

Step 3. Press Enter.

The result will be "85" because the Match function finds "John" in the list (in row 1), and the Index function retrieves the corresponding score (85) from column B.

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## FAQs

### 1. Is Index Match faster than VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP?

Yes, in most cases, INDEX MATCH is faster than VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP in Excel. INDEX MATCH offers more flexibility and can perform both vertical and horizontal lookups, making it a more efficient option for finding specific data points in large datasets. It also works with unsorted data, eliminating the need for data sorting, which further contributes to its faster performance.

### 2. Are there any alternatives to Index Match in Excel?

Yes, there is an alternative to INDEX MATCH in Excel, and it's called XLOOKUP. XLOOKUP is a newer function introduced in Excel 365 that simplifies and improves the lookup process, offering a more straightforward syntax and handling errors more effectively. It provides similar lookup capabilities to INDEX MATCH but with added versatility and ease of use.

### 3. Can Index Match handle multiple criteria simultaneously?

Yes, INDEX MATCH can handle multiple criteria simultaneously in Excel. By using multiple instances of the MATCH function within the INDEX function, you can perform a lookup based on multiple conditions and retrieve the corresponding data efficiently. This allows you to perform more complex data analysis and retrieve specific information from your Excel spreadsheets based on multiple criteria.

### 4. What makes INDEX MATCH better than VLOOKUP in Excel?

INDEX MATCH is often considered better than VLOOKUP in Excel due to its flexibility and ability to handle unsorted data. Unlike VLOOKUP, INDEX MATCH can perform both vertical and horizontal lookups, making it suitable for a wider range of data analysis tasks. Additionally, INDEX MATCH does not require data sorting, which can result in faster and more efficient lookups, especially in large dataset

## Summary

The article highlights the superiority of INDEX MATCH over VLOOKUP in Excel due to its flexibility, efficiency, and error-handling capabilities. INDEX MATCH's ability to handle unsorted data and perform both vertical and horizontal lookups makes it a preferred choice for advanced data analysis. Additionally, its concise formula size and ease of understanding contribute to improved productivity.

Throughout the guide, WPS Office is emphasized as a powerful alternative to Microsoft Office, providing a user-friendly experience, secure document handling, and seamless compatibility with various formats.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.