Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on January 22, 2019

My database is as shown, where I have company abc sells siemens, omron and mitsubishi and company qwe sells omron n siemens.

Company Products
abc Siemens Omron Mitsubishi
qwe Omron Siemens
asd Omron Moeller
zxc Mitsubishi Omron

So right now I wanna key in the product name, lets say siemens, I hope it shows all the companies that sell siemens, in this case would be abc n qwe.

How is it possible? Using your formula can only works for first column, it will shows company abc only (first column), how to make it seach through the second column n show company qwe as well?

This array formula looks up a value in a range (C3:E6) and returns multiple unique distinct values from a column (B3:B6). Cell C9 is the lookup value.

Array formula in cell B12:

=INDEX(\$B\$3:\$B\$6, SMALL(IF((\$C\$3:\$E\$6=\$C\$9)*(COUNTIF(\$B\$11:B11, \$B\$3:\$B\$6)=0), ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6)-MIN(ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6))+1, ""), 1))

Watch a video where I explain how it works

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How to create an array formula

1. Double click on cell B12.
2. Copy (Ctrl + c) and paste (Ctrl + v) above array formula to cell B12.
3. Press and hold Ctrl + Shift simultaneously.
4. Press Enter once.
5. Release all keys.

How to enter an array formula

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

How to copy array formula

1. Select cell B12
2. Copy (Ctrl + c)
3. Select cell range B12:B14
4. Paste ( Ctrl + v)

Explaining array formula in cell B12

Step 1 - Find matching values in array

(\$C\$3:\$E\$6=\$C\$9)

becomes

{"Siemens", "omron", "mitsubishi";"Omron", "Siemens", 0;"Omron", "Moeller", 0;"mitsubishi", "Omron", 0}="Siemens"

and returns

{TRUE, FALSE, FALSE;FALSE, TRUE, FALSE;FALSE, FALSE, FALSE;FALSE, FALSE, FALSE}

Step 2 - Remove duplicate values in array

COUNTIF(\$B\$11:B11, \$B\$3:\$B\$6)=0

becomes

COUNTIF("Company:", {"abc";"qwe";"asd";"zxc"})=0

becomes

{0; 0; 0; 0}=0

and returns

{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}

How to use the COUNTIF function

Counts the number of cells that meet a specific condition.

Step 3 - Return row numbers

IF((\$C\$3:\$E\$6=\$C\$9)*(COUNTIF(\$B\$11:B11, \$B\$3:\$B\$6)=0), ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6)-MIN(ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6))+1, "")

becomes

IF(({TRUE, FALSE, FALSE;FALSE, TRUE, FALSE;FALSE, FALSE, FALSE;FALSE, FALSE, FALSE})*({TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}), ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6)-MIN(ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6))+1, "")

becomes

IF({1, 0, 0;0, 1, 0;0, 0, 0;0, 0, 0}, ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6)-MIN(ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6))+1, "")

becomes

IF({1, 0, 0;0, 1, 0;0, 0, 0;0, 0, 0}, {1; 2; 3}, "")

and returns

{1, "", "";"", 2, "";"", "", "";"", "", ""}

How to use the IF function

Checks if a logical expression is met. Returns a specific value if TRUE and another specific value if FALSE.

Step 4 - Find smallest row number

SMALL(IF((\$C\$3:\$E\$6=\$C\$9)*(COUNTIF(\$B\$11:B11, \$B\$3:\$B\$6)=0), ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6)-MIN(ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6))+1, ""), 1)

becomes

SMALL({1, "", "";"", 2, "";"", "", "";"", "", ""}, 1)

and returns 1.

How to use the SMALL function

The SMALL function lets you extract a number in a cell range based on how small it is compared to the other numbers in the group.

Step 5 - Return a value or reference of the cell at the intersection of a particular row and column

=INDEX(\$B\$3:\$B\$6, SMALL(IF((\$C\$3:\$E\$6=\$C\$9)*(COUNTIF(\$B\$11:B11, \$B\$3:\$B\$6)=0), ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6)-MIN(ROW(\$C\$3:\$E\$6))+1, ""), 1))

becomes

=INDEX(\$B\$3:\$B\$6, 1)

and returns abc in cell B12.

How to use the INDEX function

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