How To Use VLOOKUP To Search A Segment Of A Listed Item In Excel

In this tutorial we’ll take a look at how to do a VLOOKUP when you are only searching for a segment of the information in a specific column rather than the entire item.

You can download the file here and follow along. If you get a preview, look for the download arrow in the upper right hand corner.

Here I have a list of 10 names and next to each a number from 1 to 10. I want to enter the segment in red in cell D2 and return the appropriate number in cell E2.


If I used a typical VLOOKUP formula with an exact match, I will only get #N/A errors:


If I change it to an approximate match, it will give incorrect results:


What I’ll need to do is insert a wild card before and after cell D2 and concatenate them, and make it an exact match:


Now any selection I make will work properly:


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