Select Page

Excel Video 66 shows an example when you’ll want to find an approximate match (TRUE) instead of an exact match (FALSE) with VLOOKUP. The example shows some patient satisfaction scores from a survey. The survey answers range from 1 to 5, but the values go out to one decimal place. This is a case when you want to use an approximate match. If you use an exact match, your lookup table will need to have 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 etc. all the way to 5.0 to handle all possible survey results. It’s much easier to use an approximate match. Remember for Excel, approximate match is like the Price is Right, the closest value without going over. Make sure your lookup table is sorted properly, and Excel will go down the list selecting the value that is closest to the survey result without going over to the next category. Most of the time I use VLOOKUP, I look for an exact match, but here’s an example where an approximate match is the way to go.