If you need to get the first text value in a list (a one-column range) you can use the VLOOKUP function set to exact match, with a wildcard character for the lookup value.

In the example the formula in D7 is:


Generic formula



The asterisk (*) wildcard character matches any text value. When used with VLOOKUP in exact match mode (the 4th argument, range_lookup, set to FALSE), the asterisk will match the first cell that contains text. Since we are supplying the column as 1, we get the value from the same range we are using for the table.

Note: this only works for text values, not numbers.

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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.