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Columns compare

Posted on 2011-03-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi, in my excel file I have two columns. Each of them has thousands of rows.
I want to know whether they are overlap. In other words, column A includes any element in column B?

Thanks.
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Question by:zhshqzyc
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Expert Comment

by:akajohn
ID: 35148462
Could you post an example of a few rows.
We would like to know your definition of overlap and is the data text, numbers or dates ?

Thanks.
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Author Comment

by:zhshqzyc
ID: 35148636
column A:7895
7896
7897
7898
7899
7909
7916
7918
7920
7921

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column B
3467
3472
3475
3476
3477
3480
3482
3483
297-020
303-020
308-001
310-001
314-001
320-020
325-001
326-001

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Expert Comment

by:telyni19
ID: 35148712
For a simple one-way horizontal text comparison, you could use the SEARCH (not case-sensitive) or FIND (case-sensitive) functions:

=IF(ISERR(SEARCH(B1,A1)),"Distinct","Overlap")

This tests whether cell A1 contains the value of cell B1; if it does, the function returns "Overlap", if it doesn't, an error is generated and trapped to return "Distinct" - these return values could be any appropriate text or number.

If you want to test whether column A contains a whole instance of B1 anywhere, then use VLOOKUP:
=IF(ISERR(VLOOKUP(B1, A$1:A$65536,1,false)),"Distinct","Overlap")

Copy the desired formula down the column as appropriate. The VLookup doesn't need to search the entire column A, only as far down as the data goes, so replace 65536 with the last row of your data.

Your example doesn't show any "overlap" between the two sets of numbers, so I think it's still not clear what you consider an overlap to be, but the two methods I've described above will do comparisons of values in column B in two different ways to column A.
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Author Comment

by:zhshqzyc
ID: 35148916
=IF(ISERR(VLOOKUP(B1, A$1:A$65536,1,false)),"Distinct","Overlap")

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Can you double check your formula? I got a wrong result.
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telyni19 earned 50 total points
ID: 35148967
Sorry, use ISERROR instead of ISERR. VLOOKUP returns #N/A which isn't considered an error by ISERR but is considered an error by ISERROR.

=IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(B1, A$1:A$65536,1,false)),"Distinct","Overlap")
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