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

This article will explore the Excel VLOOKUP formula and show you how to combine it with an IF statement to flag if multiple lookup values match in your data set.

VLOOKUP is really great for pulling data from large tables in Excel, but sometimes large data sets can have too many values to return from your VLOOKUP match.

Here is an excerpt from a large data set with which to explore an example. It includes sales units of machine parts by city and state. My data starts at B3 and ends at D10 in my Excel worksheet.

**City state parts sold**

Jacksonville FL 474047

Los Angeles CA 299723

Orlando FL 405426

San France 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 follows –

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

We can see that Excel has returned the first value in the data set that matches CA’s lookup value showing 299723 as the result.

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

Let’s talk through a formula we can use.

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

We start with an IF statement.

IF statements are criteria **COUNTIF(C:C,H4)>1**.

It enumerates all instances of cell values of H4 in C**Olam C**. So this example calculates that there are 3 instances of CA in our data set. Since it is greater than 1, it shows a TRUE value which we can set to anything we want.

The true value returned in my example is the words “multiple answers”. If there were no more than 1 instances, then it would return a FALSE result, which is the actual VLOOKUP that Excel would then return.

We can now pull down the formula like a normal VLOOKUP formula, and identify any multiple matches in our data by displaying “Multiple Answers”.

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