In case, this is the first time you are hearing about Excel formula wildcards, check out the Using wildcards in Excel VLOOKUP formula tutorial.
So you know about wild cards like * ?, now how would you tell VLOOKUP to ignore them?
Say, you are genuinely interested in looking the value “* Payroll” in a lookup table. What then?
This is exactly the problem faced by Peter in our forum post VLOOKUP and cells with “*” NOT to be interpreted as wildcard
How to deal with wildcard problem?
Of course, you can use one of the three approaches,
- Use formulas that ignore wildcards, like FIND() or = operator
- Replace wildcards with some other symbol (for ex: | or @) and do the lookups
- Or, just use ~ to tell Excel to ignore the wildcards
How to tell VLOOKUP to ignore the wildcards – Video
In this short video, learn how to use the ~ character to nullify the wildcard effect.
You may also watch this video on our YouTube channel.
Download the example workbook
Click here to download the example workbook for this video. Play with the data and formulas to learn more.
Other creative ways to lookup
Here at Chandoo.org, I am always on the lookup for crazy, fun & creative lookup problems. Check out these examples to one up your lookup quotient.
- Case sensitive lookups
- Pricing tier lookup
- Range lookup – find out which min max range has the value you want to lookup
- Lookup the first non blank value
- 2 way lookup – lookup both row & column values
- 3D lookup the maximum value
- Ultimate lookup trick – multi-condition lookup
What is your wildest lookup challenge?
Ever had a wild time with lookups? Late nights with naughty data, nasty lookups and ninth cup of coffee? Please share your crazy lookup experiences, tips and stories in the comments section.
My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.
Thank you and see you around.
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