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- Excel Tip – Flag Multiple Matches In Your VLOOKUP Formula
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## Excel Tip – Flag Multiple Matches In Your VLOOKUP Formula

This article examines Excel’s VLOOKUP formula and shows how to combine it with an IF statement to flag when your dataset contains multiple lookup values.

VLOOKUP is really great for pulling data from a larger table in Excel, but sometimes larger sets of data can have multiple values that may be returned from your VLOOKUP match.

Here’s an excerpt from a larger dataset to explore the example. It contains machine parts sales units by city and state. My data starts with B3 and ends with D10 in my Excel worksheet.

**Parts of the district have been sold**

Jacksonville FL 474047

Los Angeles CA 299723

Orlando FL 405426

San Fran CA 473695

Atlanta GA 326085

Rochester NY 264132

San Diego CA 310811

Let’s go ahead and create a simple VLOOKUP formula and see what is returned. The formula is as follows –

=VLOOKUP(H4,C3:D10,2,FALSE)- my lookup value is contained in cell H4.

We can see that Excel correctly returned the first value found in the dataset when it matched the CA lookup value, resulting in 299723.

However, we may need to know if there is a second or third value (multipliers) in our data set. We can easily answer this question by adding an IF statement to our VLOOKUP formula to provide the answer.

Let’s go through the formula we can use.

=IF(COUNTIF(C:C,H4)>1″MULTI ANSWERS”,VLOOKUP(H4,C:D,2,FALSE)

Let’s start with the IF statement.

The criteria for the IF statement are **COUNTIF(C:C,H4)>1**.

It counts all occurrences of H4 cell values in Cs**column C**. So this example assumes that we have 3 CA instances in our dataset. Since it is greater than 1, it returns TRUE, which we can set to whatever we want.

The TRUE return value in my example is the words “MULTI ANSWERS”. If the instances were not greater than 1, the result is FALSE, which is the actual VLOOKUP that Excel then returns.

Now we can drag the formula down like a regular VLOOKUP formula and identify multiple matches in our data by displaying “MULTI MATCHES”.

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