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Excel XMATCH Function

Excel XMATCH function

The Excel XMATCH function performs a lookup and returns a position in vertical or horizontal ranges. It is a more robust and flexible successor to the MATCH function. XMATCH supports approximate and exact matching, reverse search, and wildcards (* ?) for partial matches. 

Get the position of an item in a list or table
Return value 
Numeric position in lookup array
=XMATCH (lookup_value, lookup_array, [match_mode], [search_mode])
  • lookup_value - The lookup value.
  • lookup_array - The array or range to search.
  • match_mode - [optional] 0 = exact match (default), -1 = exact match or next smallest, 1 = exact match or next larger, 2 = wildcard match.
  • search_mode - [optional] 1 = search from first (default), -1 = search from last, 2 = binary search ascending, -2 = binary search descending.
Usage notes 

The Excel XMATCH function performs a lookup and returns a position. XMATCH can perform lookups in vertical or horizontal ranges, and is meant to be a more flexible and powerful successor to the MATCH function.  XMATCH supports both approximate and exact matches, and wildcards (* ?) for partial matches. Like the XLOOKUP function, XMATCH can search data starting from the first value or the last value (i.e. reverse search). Finally, XMATCH can perform binary searches, which are specifically optimized for speed. See match type and search mode below for details. 


In some cases, XMATCH can be a drop-in replacement for the MATCH function. For example, for exact matches, the syntax is identical:

=MATCH(lookup, range, 0) // exact match
=XMATCH(lookup, range, 0) // exact match

However, for approximate matches, the behavior is different when match type is set to 1:

=MATCH(lookup, range, 1) // exact match or next smallest
=XMATCH(lookup, range, 1) // exact match or next *largest*

In addition, XMATCH allows -1 for match type, which is not available with MATCH:

=XMATCH(lookup, range, -1) // exact match or next smallest

Note: the MATCH function does not offer the search mode argument at all.

Match type

The third argument for XMATCH is match_type. This is an optional argument that controls match behavior as follows:

Match type Behavior
0 (default) Exact match. Will return #N/A if no match.
-1 Exact match or next smaller item.
1 Exact match or next larger item.
2 Wildcard match (*, ?, ~)

Search mode

The fourth argument for XMATCH is search_mode. This is an optional argument that controls search behavior as follows:

Search mode Behavior
1 (default) Search from first value
-1 Search from last value (reverse)
2 Binary search values sorted in ascending order
-2 Binary search values sorted in descending order

Binary searches are very fast, but take care data is sorted as required. If data is not sorted properly, a binary search can return invalid results that look perfectly normal.

Example #1 - exact match

In the example shown, XMATCH is used to retrieve the position of "Mars" in a list of planets in the range B6:B14. The formula in G6 is:

=XMATCH(G5,B6:B14) // returns 4

Notice XMATCH defaults to an exact match. If "Mars" G5 was misspelled "Marz", XMATCH would return #N/A.

Example #2 - match behavior

The example below illustrates match mode behavior with a lookup value of 3.1 in E4, and lookup values in B5:B11.

XMATCH match mode examples

E6=XMATCH(E4,B5:B11) // returns #N/A
E7=XMATCH(E4,B5:B11,-1) // returns 3
E8=XMATCH(E4,B5:B11,1) // returns 4

Example #3 - INDEX and XMATCH

XMATCH can be used just like MATCH with the INDEX function. To retrieve the diameter of Mars based on the original example above, the formula is:

=INDEX(C6:C14,XMATCH(G5,B6:B14)) / returns 6792


  1. XMATCH can work with both vertical and horizontal arrays.
  2. XMATCH will return #N/A if the lookup value is not found.
XMATCH is a new function available in Excel 365 only.

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