To use XLOOKUP to match values that contain specific text, you can use wildcards and concatenation. In the example shown, the formula in F5 is:

=XLOOKUP("*"&E5&"*",code,quantity,"no match",2)

where code (B5:B15) and quantity (C5:C15) are named ranges.

Generic formula



The XLOOKUP function contains built-in support for wildcards, but this feature must be enabled explicitly by setting match mode to the number 2.

In the example shown, XLOOKUP is configured to match the value entered in cell E5, which may appear anywhere in the lookup values in B5:B15. The formula in F5 is:

=XLOOKUP("*"&E5&"*",code,quantity,"no match",2) // returns 50
  • lookup_value - E5, with asterisks (*) concatenated front and back
  • lookup_array - the named range code (B5:B15)
  • return_array - the named range quantity (C5:C15)
  • if_not_found - the string "no match"
  • match_mode - provided as 2 (wildcard match)
  • search_mode - not provided. Defaults to 1 (first to last)

To make a "contains" type match automatic, the wildcard asterisk (*) is both prepended and appended to the value in cell E5 with concatenation:


After concatenation, the formula becomes:

=XLOOKUP("*BCC*",code,quantity,"no match",2)

XLOOKUP locates the first match that contains "BCC" (050-BCC-123 in row 10) and returns the corresponding value from the return array, 50.

Note that XLOOKUP is not case-sensitive, entering "bcc" in E5 will return the same result:

=XLOOKUP("*bcc*",code,quantity,"no match",2) // returns 50

See below for an option to configure XLOOKUP for a case-sensitive match.

VLOOKUP option

The VLOOKUP formula also supports wildcards when set to exact match. The equivalent VLOOKUP formula for this example is:


Full explanation here.


It is also possible to use the SEARCH and FIND functions to perform a "contains" type match with XLOOKUP. For a case-insensitive match (like the example above), you can use SEARCH like this:

=XLOOKUP(1,--ISNUMBER(SEARCH("BCC",code)),quantity,"no match",2)

For a case-sensitive match, you can use FIND instead:

=XLOOKUP(1,--ISNUMBER(FIND("BCC",code)),quantity,"no match",2)

Both options above make it easier to extend criteria to include other conditions using boolean logic.

The logic for ISNUMBER + SEARCH is explained here.

Multiple matches

If you need multiple matches, see the FILTER function.

Dynamic Array Formulas are available in Office 365 only.
Dave Bruns Profile Picture

AuthorMicrosoft Most Valuable Professional Award

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.