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excel – Vlookup Wildcard With Spaces

Posted by: admin May 14, 2020 Leave a comment


I have a list of accounts from one database (Parent Accounts 1) and a list of Parent Accounts from another database (Parent Accounts 2).

I want to find the overlap between the two databases by doing a vlookup on ‘Parent’ (or maybe i’m doing it ON ‘Parent Column’?) but am only successful when it is an exact-ish match i.e. if there are no spaces etc.

This is the Vlookup I’m using:

=VLOOKUP('cell'&"*",'named range','2,false())

Screen Shot for reference:

enter image description here
What I’m trying to figure out are two things:

  1. How can I get the vlookup to continue searching via wildcard AFTER a space? I’m trying to understand why ‘Cox En’ in my screenshot (deliniated in green) are matching, and ‘Cox Enterprises’ (deliniated in red) are not matching.
  2. Is there value in switching the named range ‘Parent’ to row column ‘O’?

I’ve been working on this all day so please excuse my bluntness. Really trying to connect the dots in my head.If someone could explain the value of ‘order’ and matching one way vs another I’d really appreciate it i.e. what’s the difference with this particular VLOOKUP between “doing a VLOOKUP on ‘Parent’ column” and “doing a VLOOKUP on ‘Parent Account’ column?

I’d be happy to provide any further detail needed.

Thanks a lot,


How to&Answers:

Answer to 1.: The formula is doing exactly what it is designed for (The space is irrelevant).

  • Is “Cox En*” equivalent to “Cox Ent” ? Yes it is
  • Is “Cox Enterprises*” equivalent to “Cox Ent” ? Not it is not

Answer to 2.: If you switch the look-up value and the look-up table, you’ll get the opposite result :

  • Is “Cox Ent*” equivalent to “Cox En” ? No it is not
  • Is “Cox Ent*” equivalent to “Cox Enterprises” ? Yes it is