Array formula in E3:

=INDEX(A1:A10, MATCH(MIN(ABS(A1:A10-$E$1)), ABS(A1:A10-$E$1), 0))

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How to enter an array formula

  1. Select cell E3
  2. Type or copy/paste above array formula to formula bar
    formula bar
  3. Press and hold Ctrl + Shift
  4. Press Enter

Learn more about array formulas:

Learn the basics of Excel arrays

Array formulas allows you to do advanced calculations not possible with regular formulas.

Explaining array formula in cell E3

You can easily follow along, select cell E3. Go to tab "Formulas" and click on "Evaluate formula".

Click "Evaluate" button to move to next step.

Step 1 - Subtract dates with search date



{39814; 39830; 39822; 39842; 39834; 39830; 39816; 39817; 39824; 39830}-39828

and returns {-14;2;-6;14;6;2;-12;-11;-4;2}

Step 2 - Convert numerical values to absolute values




and returns {14;2;6;14;6;2;12;11;4;2}

Step 3 - Find smallest numerical value in array




and returns 2.

Step 4 - Find position in array

MATCH(MIN(ABS(A1:A10-$E$1)), ABS(A1:A10-$E$1), 0)


MATCH(2, ABS(A1:A10-$E$1), 0)


MATCH(2, {14;2;6;14;6;2;12;11;4;2}, 0)

and returns 2. Numerical value 2 has position 2 in the array.

Learn more about the MATCH function:

How to use Excel’s MATCH function

Identify the position of a value in an array.

Step 5 - Return value

INDEX(A1:A10, MATCH(MIN(ABS(A1:A10-$E$1)), ABS(A1:A10-$E$1), 0))


INDEX(A1:A10, 2)


INDEX({39814;39830;39822; 39842;39834;39830; 39816;39817;39824;39830}, 2)

an returns 39830 or 1-17-2009 in cell E3.

Learn more about the INDEX function:

INDEX function explained

Fetch a value in a data set based on coordinates.

Download excel example file

(Excel 97-2003 Workbook *.xls)

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