Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on November 15, 2019

Lookup multiple values in on cell1

This article explains how to perform multiple lookups based on values in one cell with a delimiting character using a User defined Function.

A UDF (User defined Function) is an Excel function that you can build yourself which is great if you can't find a prebuilt one that suits your needs.

You create a UDF the same way you create a macro using VBA code in the VB Editor (Visual Basic Editor), VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications.

I will explain in greater detail the code I used, where to put it and how to save your workbook,  later in this article.

Chrisa asks:

Hi Oscar
This is a very interesting function and helped me a lot so far. My file though is a bit more complicated.

I have multiple info in one cell separated with ";" (example AD1; AD2; AD3) let's say that these are servers (File name SERVERS) and in each server, I have multiple applications.

I have now another file that has all the applications per server per line in excel (each line has one server one application. Filename: APPS).

I want to start from the file SERVERS to look up the servers that are in one cell find them in the second file APPS and bring all the applications also in one cell in the file SERVERS.

Any ideas here?
Thanks in advance

Lookup multiple values in on cell

Worksheet Sheet2 contains the items and the corresponding applications.

Lookup multiple values in on cell1

Worksheet Sheet1 contains the concatenated items in column A and a formula in column B. The first argument in the UDF is the cell that contains the concatenated values, this cell reference is relative meaning it changes when you copy cell B2 and paste it to cells below.

The second argument is the lookup range and the third argument is the return range, both these arguments have absolute cell references.

Lookup_concat(Search_string,  Search_in_col , Return_val_col )

Formula in cell B2:

=Lookup_concat(A2, Sheet2!$A$2:$A$10, Sheet2!$B$2:$B$10)

VBA code

'Name the UDF and declare arguments and data types
Function Lookup_concat(Search_string As String, _
  Search_in_col As Range, Return_val_col As Range)

'Dimension variables and declare data types
Dim i As Long, result As String
Dim Search_strings, Value As Variant

'Split string using a delimiting character and return an array of values
Search_strings = Split(Search_string, ";")

'Iterate through values in array
For Each Value In Search_strings

    'Iterate through from 1 to the number of cells in Search_in_col
    For i = 1 To Search_in_col.Count

      'Check if cell value is equal to value in variable Value
      If Search_in_col.Cells(i, 1) = Value Then

        'Save the corresponding return value to variable result
        result = result & " " & Return_val_col.Cells(i, 1).Value
      End If

    'Continue with next number
    Next i

'Continue with next value
Next Value

'Return values saved to result to worksheet
Lookup_concat = Trim(result)
End Function

Where to put the code?

Lookup multiple values in on cell2

You can use the code (see instructions below) in your workbook or get the example file.

  1. Copy VBA code above.
  2. Open VB Editor (Alt+F11)  and select your workbook in the Project Explorer.
  3. Press with left mouse button on Insert on the menu.
  4. Press with left mouse button on Module to create a module.
  5. Paste code to module1
  6. Exit VB Editor


Note, save your workbook with file extension *.xlsm (macro enabled) to make sure you attach the code to your workbook.