When you work in Excel, you may find yourself needing to compare data. This is especially true with text strings. It’s handy to rapidly compare large volumes of data to find exact text matches. Fortunately, Excel has a built-in formula that does exactly that. Let’s learn how to use EXACT in Microsoft Excel.
How to Use EXACT in Excel
Imagine that you have two columns of data, with each cell containing one or more words. You need to evaluate the data to see if the values in a given row of column A match the values in the same row of column B. Of course, you could do this manually. But if you have a large volume of data, studying it manually takes a lot of time, and is quite error-prone.
This is where Excel’s EXACT formula comes in. EXACT automatically studies a pair of values and determines whether they are an exact match. If the match is exact, the formula returns the value TRUE. If the match isn’t exact, Excel will return FALSE when you use the EXACT formula.
To use EXACT in Microsoft Excel, begin by clicking into an empty cell. Here, we’ll use cell C1 to compare the values in cells A1 and B1 for an exact match.
Begin by typing an = sign, which tells Excel that you’ll be inputting a formula. Then, type the EXACT( function. So far, your formula reads:
Then, click the first cell that you want to compare, add a comma, and click on the other cell. Your complete formula should be:
Hit Enter on your keyboard, and Excel analyzes for an exact match. Here, the two cells are an exact match, so Excel returns TRUE.
From here, you can copy the formula downward by dragging the corner. Excel will analyze the other pairs. Notice in the case of cells A3 and B3, that the EXACT formula is case-sensitive.
As you can see, it’s easy to find matches in Excel, all thanks to the simple, easy-to-use EXACT function.