Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on October 31, 2018

Column B contains document names, many of them are duplicates. The adjacent column C has the revision of the documents in alphanumeric format.

The array formula in cell F3 returns the latest revision based on the document name in cell F2.

=INDEX($H$3:$H$2456, MAX(IFERROR(MATCH(IF(F2=$B$3:$B$12, $C$3:$C$12, ""), $H$3:$H$2456,0), "")))

The issue here is that the revisions may contain both letters and numbers and Excel can't extract the latest revision based on sorting from A to Z, that is why the revision hierarchy is in column H to guide Excel.

To enter an array formula, type the formula in a cell then press and hold CTRL + SHIFT simultaneously, now press Enter once. Release all keys.

The formula bar now shows the formula with a beginning and ending curly bracket telling you that you entered the formula successfully. Don't enter the curly brackets yourself.

Explaining array formula in cell F3

The IF function extracts revisions based on the document name in cell F2.

IF(F2=$B$3:$B$12, $C$3:$C$12, "")

becomes IF("SH-W2A2A"={"SH-W1A2A"; "SH-W2A2A"; "SH-W1A2B"; "SH-W1A2A"; "SH-W1A2A"; "SH-W1A2B"; "SH-W2A2A"; "SH-W2A2A"; "SH-W1A2B"; "SH-W1A2B"},{"650"; "24b"; "489"; "12y"; "759"; "698"; "18n"; "5k"; "116"; "Ca"},"")

and returns {"";"24b";"";"";"";"";"18n";"5k";"";""}.

The MATCH function then finds the position of each value in the array, if a value is not found the function returns an #N/A error.

MATCH(IF(F2=$B$3:$B$12, $C$3:$C$12, ""), $H$3:$H$2456,0)


MATCH({"";"24b";"";"";"";"";"18n";"5k";"";""}, $H$3:$H$2456,0)

and returns {#N/A; 1326; #N/A; #N/A; #N/A; #N/A; 1176; 822; #N/A; #N/A}

A higher number means a later revision.

The IFERROR function converts error values to blanks.

IFERROR(MATCH(IF(F2=$B$3:$B$12, $C$3:$C$12, ""), $H$3:$H$2456,0), "")


IFERROR({#N/A; 1326; #N/A; #N/A; #N/A; #N/A; 1176; 822; #N/A; #N/A}, "")

and returns {""; 1326; ""; ""; ""; ""; 1176; 822; ""; ""}.

The MAX function gets the largest number in the array, it corresponds to the latest revision.

MAX(IFERROR(MATCH(IF(F2=$B$3:$B$12, $C$3:$C$12, ""), $H$3:$H$2456, 0), ""))


MAX({""; 1326; ""; ""; ""; ""; 1176; 822; ""; ""})

and returns 1326.

The INDEX function then returns the latest revision value.

INDEX($H$3:$H$2456, MAX(IFERROR(MATCH(IF(F2=$B$3:$B$12, $C$3:$C$12, ""), $H$3:$H$2456,0), "")))


INDEX($H$3:$H$2456, 1326)

and returns 24b in cell F3.

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