# What is Index Match in Google Sheets

Jul 11, 2024

Would you like to learn how to use index and match functions in Google Sheets?

Mastering the INDEX and MATCH functions can be groundbreaking if you're working with data in Google Sheets. These powerful tools help you easily find and retrieve data from your spreadsheets.

This guide will discuss step-by-step how to use INDEX and MATCH together.

## What Are the Google Sheets INDEX and MATCH Functions?

The `INDEX` function in Google Sheets allows you to retrieve a value from a specific position in a range. It allows you to flexibly and efficiently retrieve data from specific locations in your Google Sheets.

Meanwhile, the `MATCH` function in Google Sheets is used to find the position of a specific value within a range of cells. It helps you locate the position of values in a list, which is useful for various lookup and data management tasks.

When combined, the INDEX MATCH function can perform advanced lookups that are more flexible than the VLOOKUP function.

## How To Use the INDEX MATCH Functions

If you work with data in Google Sheets, you know how important it is to quickly find and retrieve specific information. Below, we will explain how to use MATCH and INDEX functions separately and together:

### How to use MATCH.

First, let's understand how MATCH works. The following explains how to use the MATCH function properly:

Syntax:

=MATCH(search_key, range, [search_type])

• Search_key: The value you are looking for.
• Range: The range to search within.
• Search_type: (Optional) Set to 0 for an exact match and -1 for the largest value less than or equal to the search key. Also, set 1 for the smallest value greater than or equal to the search key.

Example:

Imagine you have a list of products in column A in your sample spreadsheet. If you want to find the position of "Banana," use the MATCH formula below:

=MATCH("Banana", A2:A7, 0)

This will change to "2" if "Banana" is in the second row of the range A2

### How to use INDEX.

Next, let's look at how INDEX works. The following explains how the INDEX function returns the value of a cell at the intersection of a specific row and column within a range:

Syntax:

=INDEX(reference, row, column)

• Reference: The range of cells.
• Row and column: The row and column numbers.

Example:

Suppose you have a table of prices in range B2, and you want to find the value in the third row and second column; use the formula below:

=INDEX(B2:D5, 3, 2)

This will return the value in the third row and second column of the range B2.

### How to combine the INDEX and MATCH functions.

Now, let's combine these two functions to perform a powerful lookup. Below is an illustration that shows how to combine INDEX and MATCH:

#### Step 1: Understand your data.

Let's start with an example table. Our chosen table has the following content in it:

• Column A has Products, Apple, Banana, and Orange.
• Column B has January, 30, 20, and 25.
• Column C has February, 40, 25, and 30.

In this table, we want to find out the sales of "Banana" in "Feb."

#### Step 2: Use MATCH to find the row number.

The next step is to find the row number of "Banana."

Formula:

=MATCH("Banana", A2:A4, 0)

• "Banana": The value you are searching for.
• A2:A4: The range to search in.
• 0: Indicates an exact match.

This formula changes to 2, which is the position of "Banana" within the range A2

#### Step 3: Use MATCH to find the column number.

Next, find the column number for "Feb".

Formula:

=MATCH("Feb", B1:C1, 0)

• "Feb": The value you are searching for.
• B1:C1: The range to search in.
• 0: Indicates an exact match.

This formula returns 2, the position of "Feb" within the range B1.

#### Step 4: Combine INDEX and MATCH.

Now, use the INDEX function to find the value at the intersection of the row and column numbers you just found.

Formula:

=INDEX(B2:C4, MATCH("Banana", A2:A4, 0), MATCH("Feb", B1:C1, 0))

• B2:C4: The range containing the data.
• MATCH("Banana," A2:A4, 0): Finds the row number of "Banana."
• MATCH("Feb," B1:C1, 0): Finds the column number of "Feb."

This formula returns 25, which is the sales of "Banana" in "Feb."

## Why Should You Use INDEX and MATCH Instead of Other Functions like VLOOKUP?

Why should you use INDEX and MATCH instead of other functions like Google Sheets VLOOKUP? The following are the benefits of using the INDEX MATCH function:

### 1. Flexibility.

Unlike VLOOKUP, which requires the lookup value in the first column, you can combine INDEX and MATCH to look up values anywhere in your data. This means you can search for values in any column and return results from any other column, making your formulas more flexible.

### 2. Efficiency with large data sets.

INDEX and MATCH combined can be faster and more efficient than VLOOKUP, especially with large data sets. VLOOKUP scans the entire table each time, while INDEX and MATCH are more targeted, which can save time.

### 3. Dynamic range lookups.

You can use INDEX and MATCH with dynamic ranges, allowing your formulas to adjust automatically as your data changes. This is particularly useful when working with growing data sets or changing data.

### 4. Two-way lookups.

INDEX and MATCH can perform two-way lookups, meaning you can search for a value based on row and column criteria. This isn't possible with VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP alone.

## Conclusion

Using INDEX and MATCH together opens up a world of possibilities for data lookups in Google Sheets or Excel. Their flexibility, efficiency, and ability to handle complex lookups make them invaluable tools for anyone working with data. So, next time you're stuck with a data problem, try INDEX and MATCH!

Visit Simple Sheets for more easy-to-follow guides and examples, and remember to visit the related articles section of this blog post.

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### What is the INDEX function in Google Sheets?

The INDEX function returns the value of a cell at a specified row and column within a given range. For example, =INDEX(A1:C3, 2, 3) returns the value from the second row and third column of the range A1.

### What is the MATCH function in Google Sheets?

The MATCH function searches for a specified value in a range and returns the relative position of that value. For example, =MATCH("Banana," A1:A10, 0) finds the position of "Banana" in the range A1.

### Why should I use INDEX and MATCH instead of VLOOKUP?

INDEX and MATCH offer more flexibility than VLOOKUP because they allow you to search in any column and return values from any other column. They also handle large datasets more efficiently and can perform two-way lookups.

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