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Get nth match in Excel

This tutorial shows how to Get nth match in Excel  using the example below;




To get the position of the nth match (for example, the 2nd matching value, the 3rd matching value, etc.), you can use a formula based on the SMALL function. In the example shown, the formula in G5 is:


This formula returns the position of the second occurrence of “red” in the list.

Note: this is an array formula and must be entered with control + shift + enter.

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How this formula works

This formula uses the named range “list” which is the range B5:B11.

The core of this formula is the SMALL function, which simply returns the nth smallest value in a list of values that correspond to row numbers. The row numbers have been “filtered” by the IF statement, which applies the logic for a match. Working from the inside out, IF compares all values in the named range “list” to the value in B5, which creates an array like this:


The “value if true” is a set of relative row numbers created by this code:


The result is an array like this:


See this page for a full explanation.

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With a logical test that returns an array of results, the IF function acts as a filter – only row numbers that correspond to a match survive, the rest return FALSE. The result returned by IF looks like this:


The numbers 1, 5, and 7 correspond to the location of “red” in the list.

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Finally, SMALL returns the nth smallest item in this list, ignoring FALSE values. In the example, F5 contains 2, so SMALL returns the 2nd smallest value: 5.

Combine with INDEX

Once you have the relative position of the nth match, you can use that position inside of INDEX to return an associated value.

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