How to match 2 lists in excel with differences

Joshua Smailes
Joshua Smailes used Ask the Experts™
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I am trying to match 2 lists in excel to find unique values. One list has data after the data I am trying to match and I am having an issue trying to add a wildcard "*" to the data. I have tried a conditional formatting approach but the lists are very large over (19000 rows) and excel freezes when I try to filter it.

Any help much appreciated
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helpfinderIT Consultant

Commented:
if you want to  comapare original data to new data (so you want to find where is difference) you can use VLOOKUP formula.

Best would be if you can post sample excel file (e.g. with 10 rows of original data and new data) so we can look at the content and suggest best approach
Rob HensonFinance Analyst

Commented:
One list has data after the data I am trying to match and I am having an issue trying to add a wildcard "*" to the data.

I assume you mean you have lists something like:

List 1:    "Original text"
List 2:    "Original text with some more"

Finding the List 1 value in List 2 should be fairly simple:

=VLOOKUP("Original text"&"*",List2,Offset,False)

Going the other way will be more difficult unless there is a common point at which the text changes, eg after the first 15 characters. For something like that:

=VLOOKUP(LEFT("Original text with some more",15),List1,Offset,False)

Thanks
Rob H
Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology Professional

Commented:
Instead of a wildcard, you might be able to simplify the problem by adding another column that strips out the extra data for you. So instead of searching for "abc*" in column A, you create another column that only displays LEFT(<column A>, 3) and search that column for just "abc".

The above can be hidden if required. It could also be rolled into a larger vlookup type of formula, but perhaps this make it easier to get a working formula built.
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Author

Commented:
One list has spaces after the data I am trying to match. There can also be data before the data I am trying to match. The data is chassis VIN numbers i.e XLRTGH4300G239385 and I am only trying to match the G239385 as this is the part that will be common in both lists. After the G239385 there is 12 spaces in list 1
Rob HensonFinance Analyst

Commented:
With which value are you trying to do the lookup, the longer or the shorter value?

As I mentioned, finding the shorter value of G239385 in the longer value list is relatively simple:

=VLOOKUP("*"&"G239385"&"*",LongValueList,2,False)   replace the italic with cell reference containing short VIN.

If doing the other way round, looking for the longer value in the shorter value list, if the required text is always the last 7 characters then:

=VLOOKUP(RIGHT("XLRTGH4300G239385",7),ShortValueList,2,False)   replace the italic with cell reference containing long VIN.

If the lookup value has spare spaces use TRIM function to remove. If the list that you are looking at has spare spaces then that is more tricky.

Author

Commented:
This has returned a #REF and I am not sure why
Rob HensonFinance Analyst

Commented:
Which one??

Copy and paste the formula here exactly how you have it and I can see if I can spot the error.

Author

Commented:
=VLOOKUP("*"&B2&"*",$A:$A,2,FALSE)
Finance Analyst
Commented:
Thought so, I was about to put another post on what could be the issue.

Replace with:

=VLOOKUP("*"&B2&"*",$A:$A,1,FALSE)

The lookup is only looking in one column (col A) and the offset was telling it to return results from column 2

Author

Commented:
That's great thanks is there a way I can filter out the blanks or make the N/As returns blanks so I can filter
Rob HensonFinance Analyst

Commented:
=IFERROR(VLOOKUP("*"&B2&"*",$A:$A,1,FALSE),"")

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