Quick, clean, and to the point

First match in range with wildcard

Excel formula: First match in range with wildcard
Generic formula 

To get the value of the first match in a range using a wildcard, you can use an INDEX and MATCH formula, configured for exact match.

In the example shown, the formula in F5 is:


Working from the inside out, MATCH is used to locate the position of the first match in the range B5:D5. The lookup_value is based on the value in B5 joined with an asterisk (*) as a wildcard, and match_type is set to zero to force an exact match:


E5 contains the string "calc" so, after concatenation, the MATCH function looks like this:


and returns 3 inside index as "row_num":


Although the range B5:D5 is horizontal and contains just one row, INDEX correctly retrieves the 3rd item in the range: "calc 1500".

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.