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 June 30, 2017)

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

Sorting a Text Selection

Word gives you the option to sort selected groups of text. You can do text, date or number sorts on whole paragraphs or ...

Discover More

Specifying a Number of Matches

The wild card searching capabilities of Word are amazing. One thing you can do with wild cards is to specify not only a ...

Discover More

Inserting a Sound File in Your Document

Got an audio file you want to insert in your document? It's easy to do when you use the Object dialog box, as described in ...

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)

Repeating Cell Contents

Want to repeat cell contents over and over again within a single cell? Excel provides two ways you can duplicate the content.

Discover More

Capitalizing Just a Surname

Changing the capitalization of text is, believe it or not, a common task in Excel. Common or not, it can be frustrating to ...

Discover More

Checking for Text

Need to figure out if a particular cell contains text? You can use the ISTEXT function to easily return this bit of trivia.

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. 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 minus 0?

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.

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.