Excel Tutorial: How To Match Up Data From Two Spreadsheets Excel


One of the essential tasks in Excel is matching up data from two separate spreadsheets, and doing so accurately can be a game-changer for many professionals. In this tutorial, we will delve into the importance of this skill and how it can save time and improve accuracy in data analysis. We will cover the step-by-step process of matching up data from two spreadsheets in Excel, providing you with the knowledge needed to excel in data management.

Key Takeaways

  • Matching up data from two separate spreadsheets is an essential task in Excel and can greatly improve accuracy in data analysis.
  • Understanding the structure of the data and ensuring it is clean and organized is crucial for successful data matching.
  • VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH, and Power Query are powerful tools in Excel for matching up data from two spreadsheets, each with its own advantages and functions.
  • Identifying common errors and learning how to troubleshoot them is important for improving data matching skills and accuracy.
  • Practicing and exploring further with matching up data in Excel is encouraged for continued improvement and mastery of data management skills.

Understanding the data

Before attempting to match up data from two spreadsheets in Excel, it's important to thoroughly understand the data in each spreadsheet. This involves reviewing the structure of the two spreadsheets, identifying common data points, and ensuring that the data is clean and organized.

A. Reviewing the structure of the two spreadsheets
  • Take the time to carefully review the layout and organization of each spreadsheet. Note any differences in column headers, data formats, or overall structure.
  • Ensure that both spreadsheets contain the same type of data and that the columns in each spreadsheet align with one another.

B. Identifying common data points
  • Identify the specific data points that you will use to match up the data in the two spreadsheets. This could be a unique identifier such as an ID number, a date, or any other relevant piece of information.
  • Ensure that these common data points exist in both spreadsheets and are formatted consistently.

C. Ensuring data is clean and organized
  • Before attempting to match up the data, it's essential to ensure that the data in both spreadsheets is clean and organized.
  • Remove any duplicate or irrelevant data, and check for any inconsistencies or errors in the data.
  • Organize the data in a logical manner that will make it easier to match up the corresponding data points in each spreadsheet.

Using VLOOKUP function

Excel users often need to match up data from two different spreadsheets, and the VLOOKUP function is a powerful tool for doing just that. In this tutorial, we will explain how to use VLOOKUP to seamlessly merge data from two separate Excel spreadsheets.

Explanation of VLOOKUP function

The VLOOKUP function in Excel allows users to search for a value in the first column of a table array and return a value in the same row from a column you specify. This function is extremely useful for matching up data from different sources, such as two separate spreadsheets.

How to use VLOOKUP to match up data from two spreadsheets

When you have two separate spreadsheets with related data, you can use VLOOKUP to bring the data together into one cohesive view. Start by opening the spreadsheet where you want to add the matching data, then use the VLOOKUP function to retrieve the relevant data from the other spreadsheet. By specifying the lookup value, table array, column index number, and range lookup, you can effectively merge the data from the two spreadsheets.

Tips for using VLOOKUP effectively

While VLOOKUP is a powerful and versatile function, there are some tips to keep in mind for using it effectively. It's important to ensure that the data in both spreadsheets is formatted consistently, as VLOOKUP matches data based on exact matches. Additionally, using named ranges for your table arrays can make the VLOOKUP function easier to manage and understand. Finally, consider using the IFERROR function in conjunction with VLOOKUP to handle any potential errors that may arise.

Using INDEX and MATCH functions

When working with Excel, the INDEX and MATCH functions are powerful tools that can be used to match up data from two separate spreadsheets. These functions are especially useful when VLOOKUP may not be the most efficient method for finding and retrieving data.

Explanation of INDEX and MATCH functions

The INDEX function returns a value from within a specified range based on the row and column numbers provided. The MATCH function, on the other hand, searches for a specified value within a range and returns the relative position of that item.

When used together, INDEX and MATCH can be used to look up a value based on matching criteria, making them an effective combination for data matching in Excel.

How to use INDEX and MATCH to match up data from two spreadsheets

Firstly, the MATCH function is used to find the position of the lookup value in the source spreadsheet. Then, the INDEX function is used to retrieve the value from the target spreadsheet based on the position found with MATCH.

This process allows for the matching of data from two separate spreadsheets, providing a way to find and retrieve corresponding information across different datasets.

Advantages of using INDEX and MATCH over VLOOKUP

There are several advantages to using INDEX and MATCH over VLOOKUP. One of the main advantages is that INDEX and MATCH can handle left-to-right lookups, which VLOOKUP cannot do. Additionally, INDEX and MATCH can be more flexible and dynamic when working with large datasets or when the structure of the data may change.

Furthermore, INDEX and MATCH can be more efficient in certain situations, such as when dealing with large datasets or when needing to match data based on multiple criteria.

Overall, INDEX and MATCH provide a versatile and powerful way to match up data from two separate spreadsheets in Excel, offering more flexibility and capabilities compared to traditional VLOOKUP.

Excel Tutorial: How to Match Up Data from Two Spreadsheets using Power Query

In this tutorial, we will explore how to use Power Query in Excel to efficiently match up data from two separate spreadsheets. Power Query is a powerful tool that allows users to easily consolidate and manipulate data from multiple sources, saving time and improving accuracy.

A. Overview of Power Query

Power Query is an Excel add-in that enables users to discover, connect, and combine data across a wide variety of sources. It provides a user-friendly interface for importing, transforming, and merging data without the need for complex formulas or manual effort.

B. How to Use Power Query to Merge Data from Two Spreadsheets

1. Getting Started: Open Excel and navigate to the Data tab. Click on the Get Data dropdown menu and select From File. Choose From Workbook and select the first spreadsheet containing the data you want to merge.

2. Combining Data: Once the data is loaded into Power Query, click on the Home tab and select Combine. Choose Merge Queries and specify the columns to match from the second spreadsheet.

3. Refining the Merged Data: After merging the data, use Power Query's transformation options to clean, filter, and format the combined dataset as needed.

C. Benefits of Using Power Query for Data Matching

Efficiency: Power Query streamlines the process of matching data from multiple spreadsheets, reducing the need for manual intervention and potential errors.

Flexibility: With Power Query, users can easily handle changes in data structure or source without having to rewrite complex formulas or macros.

Reproducibility: The steps taken in Power Query to merge data can be saved and rerun at any time, ensuring consistent results and reproducibility.

Common errors and how to troubleshoot

When matching up data from two spreadsheets in Excel, it's common to encounter errors that can make the process frustrating. Here are some common errors to look out for and how to troubleshoot them:

Identifying common errors when matching up data

  • Duplicate data: One of the most common errors when matching up data is having duplicate entries in either of the spreadsheets. This can lead to inaccurate matching and results.
  • Mismatched data types: Another common error is having mismatched data types between the two spreadsheets, such as dates in one spreadsheet and text in the other.
  • Missing data: Missing data in either spreadsheet can lead to errors in matching up the data accurately.
  • Incorrect formatting: Formatting inconsistencies, such as extra spaces or special characters, can also cause errors when matching up data.

How to troubleshoot errors in data matching

  • Use Excel's functions: Excel offers a variety of functions, such as VLOOKUP and INDEX/MATCH, that can help troubleshoot errors in data matching by providing accurate and efficient ways to match up data.
  • Check for duplicates: Use Excel's conditional formatting or data validation tools to identify and remove duplicate entries in the spreadsheets.
  • Ensure consistent data types: Convert data types to ensure consistency between the two spreadsheets, such as converting dates to the same format and ensuring text is formatted uniformly.
  • Verify data completeness: Double-check for missing data in both spreadsheets and address any discrepancies to ensure all necessary data is included for matching.
  • Clean up formatting: Utilize Excel's formatting tools to clean up any inconsistencies in formatting, such as removing extra spaces or special characters.

Tips for avoiding errors in the future

  • Standardize data entry: Implement standardized data entry practices to minimize the risk of duplicate or mismatched data.
  • Regularly review and clean data: Schedule routine checks to review and clean up data, including removing duplicates and ensuring consistent formatting.
  • Utilize data validation: Use Excel's data validation feature to set specific criteria for data entry, reducing the likelihood of errors.
  • Document data sources and changes: Keep detailed records of data sources and any changes made to the spreadsheets to track and troubleshoot errors more effectively.


Matching up data from two spreadsheets in Excel is a crucial skill for anyone working with large amounts of data. Whether it's for financial analysis, business reporting, or simply organizing information, the ability to effectively compare and combine data from different sources can save time and improve accuracy.

In this tutorial, we covered key points such as using VLOOKUP and INDEX-MATCH functions, as well as using conditional formatting and sorting to facilitate the matching process. By following these steps, you can streamline your data management and ensure that your information is accurate and up-to-date.

I encourage you to practice and explore further with matching up data in Excel. The more you experiment with different methods and techniques, the more proficient you'll become in managing and analyzing your data. So, don't be afraid to dive in and test your skills!

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