Have you ever wanted to sort through rows or match them to another table using Lookup in Google Sheets? Lookup functions can be tricky and are and important tool. It's important to understand how to use them correctly. In this article, we will explore how to do lookup in Google Sheets, and compare it to using new text AI models to match to similar items known as a fuzzy match.
Lookup functions let you search for and return data from a table or range of cells based on certain criteria. It can find specific information from the table that you specify. This can be useful for quickly finding data from large datasets, matching entities like names, or filling out a central table.
Google Sheets offers several different lookup functions that you can use to do a better lookup.
The Search function is the simplest of the lookup functions. It can search for a value in a range of cells and return the value in the corresponding row or column.
Search, unlike something like Google search, looks for exact matches not Apple / Aaple or Tree / Forest
The Vlookup function is the most commonly used lookup function. It searches for a value in the leftmost column of a range of cells, and returns the value in the corresponding row or column. It can also search for multiple values and return multiple values.
The Index function is the most complex of the lookup functions. It searches for a value in a range of cells and returns the value in the corresponding row or column. It can also search for multiple values and return multiple values.
Now, you can get the best of both worlds. Use the reliability of lookups that return exactly and only what you're looking for with a way to match typos and similar text strings.
This function is the fastest way to bring state of the art vector search to your spreadsheets for a single cell or a thousand row table.
Fuzzy matching is a way to match strings that are similar but not exactly the same but should be in the same bucket.
Matching lists of companies or names with typos, missing first names, or different spellings are all perfect candidates for fuzzy matching. The label formula delivers exactly this without any APIs or engineering required. Use it like any other lookup function.
We love Lookup functions - and there will always be a place for VLOOKUP and INDEX(MATCH()), but we wanted to tackle the harder use cases and bring fuzzy search to spreadsheets as well.
Check out more here on how to get started!