# How to Find Similar Text in Two Columns in Excel (5 Ways)

We often need to find similar texts in two columns in Excel. Well, there are quite a few handy techniques to do that. I am going to discuss 5 different methods to identify similar texts or characters in two columns in Excel.

**Quickest Way to Find Similar Text in Two Columns in Excel**

**To find similar texts in two columns,**

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**Alternative Way ****#1. Use the IFERROR & SEARCH Function to Find Similar Text in Two Columns in Excel**

Here is an example of a dataset regarding building facilities. I need to find if the texts of **Column A** are available in **Column B** or not.

To find the matching texts inside the two columns, I used the **SEARCH function** and **IFERROR function**.

The syntax here is,

**=IFERROR(IF(SEARCH(find_text,within text)[true_value],[false_value])**

Only the **SEARCH function** could do the work of finding the same texts. But that will show **#VALUE!** when matches won’t be found in the two adjacent cells.

So to get rid of this problem, I applied the **IFERROR function **here. This will show the **True_values** as **Present**, and **False_values** as **Absent**.

**Usage Guide ↓**

- First, insert a new column adjacent to the main data table to show results.

I have created the new column in **Column C** and named it ‘**Similar Text**’.

- Then write the following formula in its first cell (
**C2**):

** =IFERROR(IF(SEARCH(A2,B2),"Present"),"Absent")**

- Now press
**ENTER**. - Then put the cursor over the
**Fill Handle**, the tiny ‘**+**’ sign at the right-bottom corner of the**C2**cell, and drag it down from**C2-C10.**

The presence of similar texts resulted in **Present**, and the dissimilarities are termed **Absent**.

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**Alternative Way #2. Use IF, MID & SEARCH Function to Find Similar Text in Two Columns in Excel**

If you are looking for a way that will pull out the exact same texts lying inside the adjacent columns, you can use this method.

For this occasion, I am using the previously shown example datasheet.

The** IF function** will check the presence and absence of similar texts.

The syntax is,

**IF(logical_test,[value_if_true],[value_if_false])**

As I have 3 columns, I will be using a **MID function** that will detect the matched words from the left column with the mid one, in terms of the right column.

Here, the **MID function** syntax is,

**MID(text,start_number,number_characters)**

**Text: **is the **text string** that has the texts you want to extract

**Start_number: **is the array of the first text.

**Number_characters: **defines the number of characters you want to draw out from the middle column.

**Usage Guide ↓**

- At first, create a new column next to the previous columns (
**Column D**). - Then apply this formula in its top cell (
**D2**):

**=IF(C2="Present",MID(B2,SEARCH(A2,B2),LEN(A2))," ")**

- Now press
**ENTER**. - After that, put the cursor over the
**Fill Handle**icon and drag it down from**D2**to**D10**.

The exactly matched text strings will appear on the cells where they are available, and unmatched results will show as **empty strings**.

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**Alternative Way #****3. Use the FIND Command to Find Similar Text in Columns in Excel**

It is a quick technique that can find out your demanded texts or characters from the entire datasheet. I am using a simple dataset as an example here. But no doubt, your worksheet will be way more complex in reality.

**Usage Guide ↓**

- First, go to the
**Home**tab. - Then, under the
**Editing**group, click on**Find & Select**drop-down list. - Then select
**Find**.

The **Find and Replace **dialog box will show up.

- Write the text that you are looking for inside the
**Find What**box. - Then press the
**Find All**button.

I searched for the word **‘Kiwi’** and all the text strings containing **‘kiwi’** come along in the extended part of the dialogue box.

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**Alternative Way #****4. Use the VLOOKUP Function to Find Texts of Two Adjoining Columns in a Separate Column in Excel **

This method will help you find similar texts in two distinct columns and place their adjoining values in another data column with its previous arrangement.

**Usage Guide ↓**

- First, write the following formula in the
**E4**:

**=VLOOKUP(E4,$A$2:$B$13,2,0)**

**E4: **is the lookup value.

**$A$2:$B$13: **is the table array.

**2: **is the **column index number**, which depends on the column headers.

**0: **is the **range lookup**.

- Then press
**ENTER.** - Then put the cursor over the
**Fill Handle**and drag it down from**E4**to**E8**.

The formula is now applied to the entire column.

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**Alternative Way #****5. Use TRUE & FALSE Logical Formula to Find Similar Text in Two Columns in Excel**

I am using a list of fruits from which I will be uncovering the same fruit names using the **TRUE-FALSE** logical formula.

- First, create a new column (
**Column C**).

I named it **Results**.

- Then, insert the following formula in its first cell (
**C2**):

**=A2=B2**

**A2:** is the first input of **column A**.

**B2:** is the first input of **column B**.

The** ‘****=****’ **sign before the functions compares the two columns and finds out if they are equal or not.

- After that, press
**ENTER**.

If the cells got similar texts, the result is **TRUE**. If the cells mismatch, the result is **FALSE**.

- Then drag down the
**Fill Handle**over the rest of the cells (**C2:C13**)**.**

The outcome looks something like this:

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**Conclusion**

Microsoft Excel offers several other ways to easily find similar words in your worksheet. But I tried to cover the most useful ones in this article. If you have any suggestions and more techniques that I can add to this blog, do share them with me in the comment section.

Hi iam trying to apply this formula to compare the text in 2 columns using below formula but it was not showing anything,what i did wrong?

=IFERROR(IF(SEARCH(A2,B2),”Present”),”Absent”)

Hi Madhuri,

I think you have directly copied the formula from this blog to your Excel sheet. If the case is so, I suggest you erase all the double inverted commas (“”) from the formula and manually insert them again using your own keyboard. I think that will resolve the formula syntax issue.

Regards!

Hoping yo can help. How can you do this if both tables include same part of the text that could be anywhere, star middle of end. Example : ” Today is Tuesday all day” and “Did you work or Tuesday or not”

The common work is Tuesday but it could be anywhere

I am trying to lookup between two files but the text entry is not always the same, so i need to find similar. None of the formulas seem to work, just lost for options here. Thank you

Hi Radica,

The following VBA code will solve your problem.

Sub FindAndHighlightWordBetweenColumns()

Dim rng As Range, cell As Range

Dim searchWord As String

searchWord = InputBox(“Enter the word you want to search for:”)

Set rng = Range(“A1:B100”) ‘Change the range to match your data

For Each cell In rng

If InStr(cell.Value, searchWord) > 0 Then

cell.Interior.Color = RGB(255, 0, 0)

End If

Next cell

End Sub

Here are the steps to use the VBA code I provided above:

Step_1: Open the Excel file you want to search in.

Step_2: Press “Alt+F11” to open the Visual Basic Editor (VBE).

Step_3: In the VBE, go to “Insert” > “Module” to create a new module.

Step_4: Copy and paste the VBA code I provided above into the new module.

Step_5: Adjust the range in the code to match the data you are working with. For example, if your data is in columns A and B starting from row 2, you should change the range to “A2:B100”

Step_6: Press “F5” to run the code or select “Run” > “Run Sub/UserForm” from the menu.

Step_7: A prompt will appear asking you to enter the word you want to search for. Type the word and press “OK”.

The code will search for the word in the specified range and highlight any cells containing the word with red color.

You can also assign the code to a button if you want to run it multiple times.

It’s important to keep in mind that the code will only look for the word inside the cells in the range specified in the code. If the word is not present in the range the code will not find it.