Article updated on January 11, 2018

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
3. Press and hold Ctrl + Shift
4. Press Enter

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

A1:A10-\$E\$1

becomes

{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

ABS(A1:A10-\$E\$1)

becomes

ABS({-14;2;-6;14;6;2;-12;-11;-4;2})

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

#### Step 3 - Find smallest numerical value in array

MIN(ABS(A1:A10-\$E\$1))

becomes

MIN({14;2;6;14;6;2;12;11;4;2})

and returns 2.

#### Step 4 - Find position in array

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

becomes

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

becomes

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.

How to use the 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))

becomes

INDEX(A1:A10, 2)

becomes

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

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

How to use the INDEX function

Gets a value in a specific cell range based on a row and column number.

find-nearest-date.xls
(Excel 97-2003 Workbook *.xls)

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