## If cell contains text from list

This article demonstrates several ways to check if a cell contains a value based on a list. The first example shows how to check if any of the values in the list is in the cell.

The remaining examples show formulas that also return the matching values. You may need different formulas based on the Excel version you are using.

**What's on this page**

The image above shows an array formula in cell C3 that checks if cell B3 contains at least one of the values in List (E3:E7), it returns "Yes" if any of the values are found in column B and returns nothing if cell contains none of the values.

Example, cell B3 contains XBF which is found in cell E7. Cell B4 contains text ZDS found in cell E6. Cell C5 contains no values in list.

You need to enter this formula as an array formula if you are not an Excel 365 subscriber. There is another formula below that doesn't need to be entered as an array formula, however, it is slightly larger and more complicated.

- Type formula in cell C3.
- Press and hold CTRL + SHIFT simultaneously.
- Press Enter once.
- Release all keys.

Excel adds curly brackets to the formula automatically if you successfully entered the array formula. Don't enter the curly brackets yourself.

### Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Check if cell contains any of the value in the list

The COUNTIF function lets you count cells based on a condition, however, it also allows you to count cells based on multiple conditions if you use a cell range instead of a cell.

COUNTIF(*range*, *criteria*)

The criteria argument utilizes a beginning and ending asterisk in order to match a text string and not the entire cell value, asterisks are one of two wildcard characters that you are allowed to use.

The ampersands concatenate the asterisks to cell range E3:E7.

COUNTIF(B3,"*"&$E$3:$E$7&"*")

becomes

COUNTIF("LNU, YNO, XBF", {"*MVN*"; "*QLL*"; "*BQX*"; "*ZDS*"; "*XBF*"})

and returns this array

{0; 0; 0; 0; 1}

which tells us that the last value in the list is found in cell B3.

#### Step 2 - Return TRUE if at least one value is 1

The OR function returns TRUE if at least one of the values in the array is TRUE, the numerical equivalent to TRUE is 1.

OR({0; 0; 0; 0; 1})

returns TRUE.

#### Step 3 - Return Yes or nothing

The IF function then returns "Yes" if the logical test evaluates to TRUE and nothing if the logical test returns FALSE.

IF(TRUE, "Yes", "")

returns "Yes" in cell B3.

### Regular formula

The following formula is quite similar to the formula above except that it is a regular formula and it has an additional INDEX function.

### Display matches if cell contains text from list

The image above demonstrates a formula that checks if a cell contains a value in the list and then returns that value. If multiple values match then all matching values in the list are displayed.

For example, cell B3 contains "ZDS, YNO, XBF" and cell range E3:E7 has two values that match, "ZDS" and "XBF".

Formula in cell C3:

The TEXTJOIN function is available for Office 2019 and Office 365 subscribers. You will get a #NAME error if your Excel version is missing this function. Office 2019 users may need to enter this formula as an array formula.

The next formula works with most Excel versions.

Array formula in cell C3:

However, it only returns the first match. There is another formula below that returns all matching values, check it out.

### Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Count cells containing text strings

The COUNTIF function lets you count cells based on a condition, we are going to use multiple conditions. I am going to use asterisks to make the COUNTIF function check for a partial match.

The asterisk is one of two wild card characters that you can use, it matches 0 (zero) to any number of any characters.

COUNTIF(B3, "*"&$E$3:$E$7&"*")

becomes

COUNTIF("ZDS, YNO, XBF", {"*MVN*"; "*QLL*"; "*BQX*"; "*ZDS*"; "*XBF*"})

and returns {1; 0; 0; 0; 1}.

This array contains as many values as there values in the list, the position of each value in the array matches the position of the value in the list. This means that we can tell from the array that the first value and the last value is found in cell B3.

#### Step 2 - Return the actual value

The IF function returns one value if the logical test is TRUE and another value if the logical test is FALSE.

IF(*logical_test*, [*value_if_true*], [*value_if_false*])

This allows us to create an array containing values that exists in cell B3.

IF(COUNTIF(B3, "*"&$E$3:$E$7&"*"), $E$3:$E$7, "")

becomes

IF(COUNTIF("ZDS, YNO, XBF", {"*MVN*"; "*QLL*"; "*BQX*"; "*ZDS*"; "*XBF*"}), {"*MVN*"; "*QLL*"; "*BQX*"; "*ZDS*"; "*XBF*"}, "")

and returns {"";"";"";"ZDS";"XBF"}.

#### Step 3 - Concatenate values in array

The TEXTJOIN function allows you to combine text strings from multiple cell ranges and also use delimiting characters if you want.

TEXTJOIN(*delimiter*, *ignore_empty*, *text1*, *[text2]*, ...)

TEXTJOIN(", ", TRUE, IF(COUNTIF(B3, "*"&$E$3:$E$7&"*"), $E$3:$E$7, ""))

becomes

TEXTJOIN(", ", TRUE, {"";"";"";"ZDS";"XBF"})

and returns text strings ZDS, XBF.

### Previous Excel versions

The image above demonstrates a formula that returns multiple matches if the cell contains values from a list. This array formula works with most Excel versions.

Array formula in cell C3:

Copy cell C3 and paste to cell range C3:E15.

### Explaining formula in cell C3

#### Step 1 - Identify matching values in cell

The COUNTIF function lets you count cells based on a condition, we are going to use a cell range instead. This will return an array of values.

COUNTIF($B3, "*"&$G$3:$G$7&"*")

becomes

COUNTIF("ZDS, YNO, XBF", {"*MVN*"; "*QLL*"; "*BQX*"; "*ZDS*"; "*XBF*"})

and returns {0; 0; 0; 1; 1}.

#### Step 2 - Calculate relative positions of matching values

The IF function returns one value if the logical test is TRUE and another value if the logical test is FALSE.

IF(*logical_test*, [*value_if_true*], [*value_if_false*])

This allows us to create an array containing values representing row numbers.

IF(COUNTIF($B3, "*"&$G$3:$G$7&"*"), MATCH(ROW($G$3:$G$7), ROW($G$3:$G$7)), "")

becomes

IF({0; 0; 0; 2; 1}, MATCH(ROW($G$3:$G$7), ROW($G$3:$G$7)), "")

becomes

IF({0; 0; 0; 2; 1}, {1; 2; 3; 4; 5}, "")

and returns {""; ""; ""; 4; 5}.

#### Step 3 - Extract the k-th smallest number

I am going to use the SMALL function to be able to extract one value in each cell in the next step.

SMALL(*array*, *k*)

SMALL(IF(COUNTIF($B3, "*"&$G$3:$G$7&"*"), MATCH(ROW($G$3:$G$7), ROW($G$3:$G$7)), ""), COLUMNS($A$1:A1)))

becomes

SMALL({""; ""; ""; 4; 5}, COLUMNS($A$1:A1)))

The COLUMNS function calculates the number of columns in a cell range, however, the cell reference in our formula grows when you copy the cell and paste to adjacent cells to the right.

SMALL({0; 0; 0; 4; 5}, COLUMNS($A$1:A1)))

becomes

SMALL({""; ""; ""; 4; 5}, 1)

and returns 4.

#### Step 4 - Return value based on row number

The INDEX function returns a value from a cell range or array, you specify which value based on a row and column number. Both the *[row_num] *and *[column_num] *are optional.

INDEX(*array*, *[row_num]*, *[column_num]*)

INDEX($G$3:$G$7, SMALL(IF(COUNTIF($B3, "*"&$G$3:$G$7&"*"), MATCH(ROW($G$3:$G$7), ROW($G$3:$G$7)), ""), COLUMNS($A$1:A1)))

becomes

INDEX($G$3:$G$7, 4)

becomes

INDEX({"MVN";"QLL";"BQX";"ZDS";"XBF"}, 4)

and returns "ZDS" in cell C3.

#### Step 5 - Remove error values

The IFERROR function lets you catch most errors in Excel formulas except #SPILL! errors. Be careful when using the IFERROR function, it may make it much harder spotting formula errors.

IFERROR(*value*, *value_if_error*)

There are two arguments in the IFERROR function. The value argument is returned if it is not evaluating to an error. The *value_if_error *argument is returned if the *value* argument returns an error.

IFERROR(INDEX($G$3:$G$7, SMALL(IF(COUNTIF($B3, "*"&$G$3:$G$7&"*"), MATCH(ROW($G$3:$G$7), ROW($G$3:$G$7)), ""), COLUMNS($A$1:A1))), "")

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

Nested IF statements in a formula are multiple combined IF functions so more conditions and outcomes become possible. They all are […]

If cell contains multiple values

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IF with AND function – multiple conditions

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The picture above shows different values in column B and a formula in column C that tries to identifies the […]

### 18 Responses to “If cell contains text from list”

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**Contact Oscar**

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Great post, very helpful. thanks.

How would you show the actual match rather than just "Yes"?

Ty Webb

Great question.

Array formula in cell C3:

=TEXTJOIN(", ", TRUE, IF(COUNTIF(B3, "*"&$E$3:$E$7&"*"), $E$3:$E$7, ""))

If Cell contains A B C then how to show in One one column .

The post is helpful!

I tried the array formula to return the actual match but it didn't work for me. I selected C3:C15, copied the formula in the comment section and pressed ctrl+shift+enter but all the cells reflected the array formula {=TEXTJOIN(", ", TRUE, IF(COUNTIF(B3, "*"&$E$3:$E$7&"*"), $E$3:$E$7, ""))}.

May I know if I did something wrong?

kayley

Did you enter the curly brackets? If you did, don't. They appear automatically to confirm that you successfully entered an array formula.

Thanks alot for posting this. It has really sorted me out. I will shine like a super star. I owe you tons! be blessed!

Great Help!! Oscar.. Thank you very much!!

array formula works for me perfectly well, but my file has a lot of data, around 2000 rows and excel results in hung due to lot of processing.

is there any way to make it more quicker; as this file has many formulas apart from the one that you have mentioned and that worked for me.

appreciate if you can assist further.

Thanks!

I want it to only return the value if it finds exact match. For example if my list contains black cat, white cat because it contains the word cat it is bringing it up.

Can you help?

Hi Oscar,

Thank you for article. It helped me to automate an excel file and save a lot of time! Is it possible to return all the values from a list instead of just one.

For eg: If in list A, i have ABC,DEF,GHI and in list B I have ABC and DEF. I want it to return both ABC and DEF values for list A. Right now it is only returning one value that is ABC (the first value in the list B) instead of both (ABC and DEF).

If it helps the formula I am using is

=IFERROR(INDEX(abc_l, SMALL(IF(COUNTIF($E153, "*"&abc_l&"*"), MATCH(ROW(abc_l), ROW(abc_l)), ""), COLUMNS($A$1:A152))), "")

Thank you again for the article!

Thanks for this very useful formula. I know a lot of what Excel can do, just not how to make it do it.

I'm using the formula

`=TEXTJOIN(", ", TRUE, IF(COUNTIF(B3, "*"&$E$3:$E$7&"*"), $E$3:$E$7, ""))</code?`

in Excel for Office 365. I want to know of there's a way to eliminate duplicate values, for example, can I distinguish between 'clay', 'silty clay' and 'salty clay'? The way it is now, I get two matches for 'silty clay', the same for 'salty clay'.

Thank you so much!

I cannot see any of the "images" where you say, "the image above." I think that would really help me to follow along.

I've tried multiple browsers and machines.

I am specifically looking at the formula for Previous Versions to return a match. I think seeing the example would really help me follow, as I haven't gotten it down yet. Thank you!

=IFERROR(INDEX($G$3:$G$7, SMALL(IF(COUNTIF($B3, "*"&$G$3:$G$7&"*"), MATCH(ROW($G$3:$G$7), ROW($G$3:$G$7)), ""), COLUMNS($A$1:A1))), "")

Thanks so much for this but I've gotten into knots trying to modify a working formula

`=IFERROR(INDEX(OfferDetails[#Data],SMALL(IF(OfferDetails[OC '#]=rngOC,ROW(OfferDetails[#Data])-ROW(OfferDetails[#Headers])), ROW(2:2)), MATCH($C$14, OfferDetails[#Headers], 0)),"")`

with

`=IFERROR(INDEX(OfferDetails[#Data],SMALL(IF(OR(COUNTIF(OfferDetails[OC '#],"*"&rngOC&"*"))=rngOC,ROW(OfferDetails[#Data])-ROW(OfferDetails[#Headers])), ROW(1:1)), MATCH($C$14, OfferDetails[#Headers], 0)),"")`

My column OfferDetails[OC '#] earlier had just one record example - 685-cf-18A . Now it has three 685-cf-18A ,685-cf-24b, 685-cf-11c .

I need to be able to match one of these three to rngOC.

Simply cannot figure out what is going wrong . Any suggestions I could try please ?

Anandi

I have this formula in a spreadsheet. It used to work, but now it does not. Are you aware of updates that would make it stop working?

=IF(OR(COUNTIF(B2,"*"&colors&"*")), "Yes", "")

where colors is a defined range of cells on another tab in the spreadsheet

Strangely, in a list of about 2000 names of which many should return a "yes", I get exactly one "yes", and I can't figure out what's special about that one. For example, the word that hits isn't the first one in the list of things I'm looking for or anything like that.

Seems worth noting that using the SEARCH formula, I am able to get the names that I would expect to hit against my list to do so. For example, for "White-tailed eagle", Excel agrees that the word "white" is in the cell, if I check only against the cell that has "white" in it. It's just a problem of searching against a list.

This was super helpful and works for me at identifying key words in a list of book titles. Is there a way to search multiple fields at once? (e.g., Find any word (from the array) in cells B3, L3, or Q3)

Thank you. This is very helpful. I was wondering if there was a way to display one specific word when a word from a list is found?

For example,

I have 5 lists (A,B,C,D,E) and in each list there are a set of specific words unique to just that list. How could I have it check each cell and display the List Name when the cell contains a word from that list?

In my situation there will "not" be multiple words in the search cell that are in the lists. Each cell will only contain one word from the 5 lists. Thanks for your time!