Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Ignoring Case in a Comparison.

Ignoring Case in a Comparison

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 20, 2015)

2

If you use Excel's IF function to compare two cells that contain text, Excel, by default, ignores the case of the text being compared. For instance, if cell B3 contains "Case" and cell B4 contains "case", then the following formula returns "Match".

=IF(B3=B4,"Match","No Match")

There is no way to modify this behavior using any settings in Excel. If you do not get these results, it is likely because of some other reason. For example, the text in the cells may look the same, but it may not really be the same. For instance, one cell could contain "Case " (with the trailing space), and the other contain "case". In this instance, the formula would return "No Match", and you would assume it is because of the capitalized C in one of the cells, but the real reason is because of the trailing space. You can confirm this by changing the formula, as follows:

=IF(TRIM(B3)=TRIM(B4),"Match","No Match")

The only difference here, of course, is that the TRIM function is used to return a cell value that has all leading and trailing spaces removed.

If you want Excel to actually take text case into account, you should use the EXACT statement, as shown here:

=IF(EXACT(B3,B4),"Match","No Match")

The EXACT function returns True if the cells are exactly the same, otherwise it returns False.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11118) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Ignoring Case in a Comparison.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning Off Automatic Captioning

Word can be configured so that it automatically adds captions to some of your design elements (tables, figures, etc.). ...

Discover More

Shrinking Cell Contents

Need to cram a bunch of text all on a single line in a cell? You can do it with one of the lesser-known settings in Excel.

Discover More

Detecting the Beginning of a Sentence in a Macro

Macros can make life easier, as they provide a fast and efficient way of processing text in a document. Such is the case ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Counting Names Based on Two Criteria

Need to figure out how many rows in a worksheet meet two criteria that you specify? Here's how to get the info you desire.

Discover More

Extracting a Pattern from within Text

If you have a large amount of data in a worksheet and you want to extract information from the text that meets certain ...

Discover More

Picking Different Random Numbers from a Range

It is not unusual to need to select two random items from a list. There are a couple of ways you can approach the task; ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 5?

2020-05-01 10:32:21

J. Woolley

@dennis
Using the example in the Tip (but ignoring TRIM), this formula will return TRUE/FALSE for a case sensitive "less than", but the case sensitivity applies only to the first character of each cell:
=OR((B3<B4),(CODE(B3)<CODE(B4)))
Notice upper case characters are "less than" lower case characters.


2020-04-30 09:15:08

dennis

Hi.

I know we can use EXACT to do a case sensitive "equal". How can we do a case sensitive "less than"?

Thanks!


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.