Quick, clean, and to the point

Approximate match with multiple criteria

Excel formula: Approximate match with multiple criteria

To lookup and approximate match based on more than one criteria, you can use an array formula based on INDEX and MATCH, with help from the IF function. In the example shown, the formula in G8 is:


The goal of this formula is to return "size" when given an animal and a weight.

Note: this is an array formula and must be entered with Control + Shift + Enter, except in Excel 365.


At the core, this is just an INDEX / MATCH formula. The problem in this case is that we need to "screen out" the extraneous entries in the table so we are left only with entries that correspond to the animal we are looking up. This is done with the IF function here:


This snippet tests the values in B5:B10 to see if they match the value in G6 (the animal). Where there is a match, the corresponding values in C5:C11 are returned. If there is no match FALSE is returned. When G6 contains "cat", the resulting array looks like this:


This array is delivered directly to the MATCH function as the lookup_array. The lookup value for match comes from G7, which contains the weight (9 lbs in the example).

Note that match is configured for approximate match by setting match_type to 1, and this requires that the values in C5:C11 must be sorted.

MATCH returns the position of the weight in the array, and this is passed to the INDEX function as the row number. The lookup_array for INDEX are the sizes in D5:D10, so INDEX returns a size corresponding to the position generated by MATCH (the number 4 in the example shown).

Dave Bruns

Excel Formula Training

Formulas are the key to getting things done in Excel. In this accelerated training, you'll learn how to use formulas to manipulate text, work with dates and times, lookup values with VLOOKUP and INDEX & MATCH, count and sum with criteria, dynamically rank values, and create dynamic ranges. You'll also learn how to troubleshoot, trace errors, and fix problems. Instant access. See details here.

Download 100+ Important Excel Functions

Get over 100 Excel Functions you should know in one handy PDF.