How to Match Data in Excel from 2 Worksheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Matching data in Excel from two worksheets is easier than you might think. By using simple formulas like VLOOKUP or INDEX and MATCH, you can efficiently align data from different sheets. This guide will walk you through the steps to achieve this task seamlessly.

How to Match Data in Excel from 2 Worksheets

Matching data from two different worksheets in Excel allows you to consolidate information, compare records, or generate comprehensive reports. Follow these steps to master this essential skill.

Step 1: Open Both Worksheets

Ensure you have both worksheets open within the same Excel workbook.

Having both worksheets open allows you to easily reference and navigate between them, which is crucial for data matching.

Step 2: Identify Common Column

Determine a column that contains the same type of data in both worksheets, such as an ID number or a product code.

This common column will serve as the key for matching data, so it’s essential that the entries in this column are unique and consistent across both sheets.

Step 3: Use VLOOKUP Function

In the target worksheet, select the cell where you want the matched data to appear and enter the VLOOKUP formula.

VLOOKUP can look up a value in one column and return a value in the same row from another column. The basic syntax is =VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup]).

Step 4: Specify Lookup Value

Within the VLOOKUP function, specify the cell from the target worksheet that contains the lookup value.

This value should be in the common column you identified earlier. For instance, if you’re matching by ID number, the lookup value should be an ID number from the target worksheet.

Step 5: Define the Table Array

Refer to the range of cells in the source worksheet that contains the data you want to match.

The table array includes both the common column and the column with the data you need. Ensure you use absolute references (like $A$2:$B$10) to keep the range fixed.

Step 6: Enter Column Index Number

Determine and enter the column index number of the data you want to retrieve from the source worksheet.

The column index number is how many columns away the target data is from the common column. For example, if the email addresses are in the second column of the table array, you would enter 2.

Step 7: Set Range Lookup

Choose whether you want an exact match or an approximate match and enter TRUE or FALSE in the formula.

For most data matching tasks, you’ll want an exact match, so enter FALSE, ensuring VLOOKUP finds an exact match for the lookup value.

Step 8: Press Enter

Hit Enter to complete the formula and see the matched data appear in the target cell.

If everything is set up correctly, the cell should now display the data from the source worksheet that corresponds to the lookup value in the target worksheet.

What Happens Next

After completing the steps, your target worksheet will display the matched data from the source worksheet. You can copy the formula down the column to match additional rows. This approach helps in consolidating data, performing comparisons, or generating detailed reports.

Tips for Matching Data in Excel from 2 Worksheets

  • Use absolute references in your formulas to prevent cell range changes.
  • Double-check that the common column values are identical and formatted correctly in both worksheets.
  • Ensure that your source data does not contain duplicates in the common column.
  • Utilize the IFERROR function to handle any errors that occur due to missing data.
  • Consider using INDEX and MATCH functions for more complex data matching scenarios.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my VLOOKUP not finding a match?

Ensure the common column values are identical in both worksheets. Even a small difference in characters can cause mismatches.

Can I match data from more than two worksheets?

Yes, you can use the same principles to match data from multiple worksheets. You’ll need to adjust your formulas accordingly.

What if I need to match text instead of numbers?

VLOOKUP works with both text and numbers. Just make sure your text values match exactly, including any spaces.

How do I handle duplicate values?

VLOOKUP will return the first match it finds. If duplicates are an issue, consider removing duplicates or using more advanced functions like INDEX and MATCH.

Can I use conditional formatting to highlight matches?

Yes, you can apply conditional formatting to visually highlight matched data, making it easier to spot.


  1. Open both worksheets.
  2. Identify common column.
  3. Use VLOOKUP function.
  4. Specify lookup value.
  5. Define the table array.
  6. Enter column index number.
  7. Set range lookup.
  8. Press Enter.


Matching data in Excel from two worksheets is a powerful technique that can save you loads of time and effort. By mastering the VLOOKUP function, you can effortlessly consolidate and compare data across multiple sheets. Remember, the key to success is in the details: make sure your common column values are consistent and correctly formatted, and don’t hesitate to use absolute references to keep your data ranges fixed.

If you’re dealing with more complex scenarios, exploring INDEX and MATCH might be worth your time. With a bit of practice, you’ll find that matching data in Excel becomes second nature. So dive in, experiment with your datasets, and you’ll soon become a pro at this essential Excel skill. If you have any questions or run into issues, there are plenty of resources and communities ready to help. Happy data matching!

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