Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Comparing, Finding, and Measuring Text
Comparing, Finding, and Measuring Text
Excel has many functions that manipulate text, but sometimes you just need
to find out about the text before you do anything else! A handful of functions
determine whether text matches other text, let you find text inside other text,
and tell you how long a string is. These functions are passive — that is, they
do not alter text.
Going for perfection with EXACT
The EXACT function lets you compare two strings of text to see whether they’re
the same. The function takes two arguments — the two strings of text —
and returns a true or false value. EXACT is case sensitive, so two strings that
contain the same letters but with differing case produce a result of false. For
example, Apple and APPLE are not identical.
EXACT is great for finding changes in data. Figure 16-10 shows two lists of
employees, one for each year, in Columns A and B. Are they identical? You
could spend a number of minutes staring at the two lists. (That would give
you a headache!) Or you can use EXACT. The cells in Column C contain the
EXACT function, used to check Column A against Column B. The returned
values are true for the most part. This means there is no change.
A few names are different in the second year. Marriage, divorce,
misspellings — it could be any of these. EXACT returns false for these names, which
means they aren’t identical in the two lists and should be checked manually.
Here’s how you use EXACT:
1. Position the cursor in the cell where you want the results to appear.
2. Enter =EXACT( to begin the function entry.
4. Enter a comma ( ,).
6. Type a ), and press Enter.
If you get a true result with EXACT, the strings are identical. A false result
means they’re different.
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