How To Do Approximate Match Using Basic Index Match in Excel

We know how to do approximate match with VLOOKUP. But how do we do approximate match using INDEX MATCH? In this very article, we will learn, in excel how to do approximate match using INDEX and MATCH.
Generic Formula for Approximate Match

=INDEX(result_array,MATCH(lookup value,lookup array,1))

Result_array : The index from which you want to get result.
Lookup_value: the value which you are looking for in lookup_array.
Lookup_array: The array in which you will look for lookup value:

Note: The lookup table must sorted in ascending order to get correct answers.

Let’s learn by an example.
Example: Do an Approximate INDEX MATCH to get grades
Here I have a list of students with their obtained marks in routine test. I need to give grades to these students according to another table. 0 to 39 as F, 40 to 59 D, 60 to 79 C, 80 to 89 B and 90 or above as A.
Note that the lookup table (marks and grade) is sorted ascendingly.
Write this formula in E2 and copy it down.


How it works?

Well this formula is using MATCH’s functionality of doing approximate match in the range. Actually, when we supply 1, TRUE or nothing to MATCH function, it performs an approximate match for lookup value. It means, if it doesn’t finds the given value in lookup range, it returns the last value found that was less than the given number.
So if we look at the formula in E3, it is


The MATCH function looks for value of D3 (36) in range H2:H6. It fails to find 36 in range. So it returns the index of last value found in H2:H6 which is less than 36. And that value is 0 and its index is 1. Hence MATCH(D3,$H$2:$H$6,1) this translates to 1 in E3.

Now we have formula INDEX($I$2:$I$6,1). And this returns F.

So yeah guys, this how you do an approximate match using INDEX and MATCH function in excel. If you have any doubt about this or any other topic from excel 2019, 2016, and 2013 or older, let me know the comments section below.
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