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

This article will review Excel’s VLOOKUP Formula and show you how to combine it with an IF statement to flag if there are multiple matching lookup values in your data set.

VLOOKUP is really good for pulling data from a large table in Excel, but sometimes in large data sets there may be too many values to return from your VLOOKUP game.

Here’s a larger dataset to explore an example with. It contains sales units of machine parts by City and State. My data starts at B3 and ends at D10 in my Excel worksheet.

**Parts of National City Sold Out**

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 reads as below –

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

We can see that Excel correctly returned the first value it came to in the data set when it matched the CA lookup value showing 299723 as the result.

However we may want to know if there are in our data, the second or third value (multiples) in the data set. We can easily answer this question by adding an IF statement to our VLOOKUP formula to give us the answer.

Let’s talk about the formula we can use.

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

We start with the IF Statement.

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

What this does is count all the examples of cell H4 values in C**beautiful C**. So this example calculates that there are 3 CA instances in our data set. Since this is greater than 1, it represents a TRUE value that we can set to whatever we want it to be.

The TRUE value that will be returned in my example is the words “MULTIPLE ANSWERS”. If the conditions were not greater than 1, then they would return a result of FALSE, which is a true VLOOKUP where Excel will return its result.

Now we can pull the formula down like a regular VLOOKUP formula, and identify any multiple matches in our data by displaying “MULTIPLE ANSWERS”.

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