Find words from a list in text of another column and return matching word if found

Posted on 2013-12-31
Last Modified: 2013-12-31

I have a list of words in a column e.g. names of fruit in A2:A8


And I have a column of rows of text that may or may not contain one of the words in the list. e.g. Comments in Col. C

My favorite fruit is apples.
Oranges are a good source of vitamin C.
Ripe pears taste good but so do bananas.
My favorite pet is a dog.

If one of the words in Fruits is found in the text, I want to enter the matching word in a cell in Col B, else leave it blank.

I'll take the first occurrence of a match.

What is a good way to do this?

Thanks in advance!
Question by:bobinorlando
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Accepted Solution

barry houdini earned 500 total points
ID: 39748705
Hello bobinorlando,

One way to do that is with this formula in B2 copied down


It actually matches in reverse order of the fruit in A2:A8 so for the text with "Pears" and "Bananas" it returns "Bananas" because that's lower down the that a problem?

If so you can use this alternative (in Excel 2010 or later versions)


that will match with the first fruit in the text so will give you "Pears" for the text "Ripe pears taste good but so do bananas"

see examples of both approaches attached

regards, barry

Author Comment

ID: 39749000
I see this works in your example file.
However, I'm having trouble applying it to my actual data (which is not the sample data I provided).

Can you plug some pseudo code into the formula to document what data goes where from my sample? e.g.

=IFERROR(LOOKUP(really big number,SEARCH(wordstofind,CellwithText),wordstofind),"iferrorprintthis")

Author Comment

ID: 39749016
Never mind. I've got it now. Thanks!
LVL 50

Expert Comment

by:barry houdini
ID: 39749149
Hello bobinorlando,

Excellent! -yes, this is a perfect generic version

=IFERROR(LOOKUP(really big number,SEARCH(wordstofind,CellwithText),wordstofind),"iferrorprintthis")

regards, barry

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