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:


Generic formula



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".

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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.