Quick, clean, and to the point

Position of first partial match

Excel formula: Position of first partial match
Generic formula 

To get the position of the first partial match (i.e. the cell that contains text you are looking for) you can use the MATCH function with wildcards.

In the example shown, the formula in E8 is:


The MATCH function returns the position or "index" of the first match based on a lookup value in a range.

MATCH supports wildcard matching with an asterisk "*" (one or more characters) or a question mark "?" (one character), but only when the third argument, match_type, is set to FALSE or zero.

In the example, we pick up the value in cell E7 and use concatenation to combine this value with asterisks (*) on either side. The lookup array is the range B6 to B11, and match_type is set to zero to all partial matching with wildcards.

The result is the position of the first cell in the lookup range that contains the text "apple".

To retrieve the value of a cell at a certain position, use the INDEX function.

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.