Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Ignoring Case in a Comparison.

Ignoring Case in a Comparison

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 17, 2011)

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 (2165) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) 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

Automatic Row Height for Wrapped Text

When you format a cell so that the information within it can wrap to multiple lines, you may be surprised if Excel doesn't ...

Discover More

Rounding to Two Significant Digits

Excel provides a variety of functions you can use to round values in any number of ways. It does not, however, provide a way ...

Discover More

Turning Off Speech Capabilities

Excel can talk to you, reading back whatever you enter into a cell. If you want to turn this capability off, you'll want to ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Converting Codes to Characters

Character codes are the numeric values used, by a computer, to signify various alphanumeric characters. You can use the CHAR ...

Discover More

Modifying Proper Capitalization

The PROPER worksheet function is used to change the case of text so that the first letter of each word is capitalized. If ...

Discover More

Using the CONCATENATE Worksheet Function

The process of combining string (text) values to make a new string is called concatenation. Excel provides the CONCATENATE ...

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 for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share