How to correct a #VALUE! error in INDEX/MATCH functions

This topic explains the common scenarios where you encounter the #VALUE! error when using INDEX and MATCH functions together in a formula. One of the most common reasons to use the INDEX and MATCH combination is when you want to look up a value in a scenario where VLOOKUP won’t work for you, like if your lookup value is over 255 characters.

Problem: The formula has not been entered as an array

If you are using INDEX as an array formula along with MATCH in order to be able to retrieve a value, you will need to convert your formula into an array formula, otherwise you will see a #VALUE! error.

Solution: INDEX and MATCH should be used as an array formula, which means you need to press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER. This will automatically wrap the formula in braces {}. If you try to enter them yourself, Excel will display the formula as text.

If you're using INDEX/MATCH when you have a lookup value greater than 255 characters is needs to be entered as an Array formula.  The formula in cell F3 is =INDEX(B2:B4,MATCH(TRUE,A2:A4=F2,0),0), and is entered by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Enter

Note: If you have a current version of Microsoft 365, then you can simply enter the formula in the output cell, then press ENTER to confirm the formula as a dynamic array formula. Otherwise, the formula must be entered as a legacy array formula by first selecting the output cell, entering the formula in the output cell, and then pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER to confirm it. Excel inserts curly brackets at the beginning and end of the formula for you. For more information on array formulas, see Guidelines and examples of array formulas.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support in the Answers community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

See Also

Correct a #VALUE! error

INDEX function

MATCH function

Look up values with VLOOKUP, INDEX or MATCH

Overview of formulas in Excel

How to avoid broken formulas

Detect errors in formulas

All Excel functions (alphabetical)

All Excel functions (by category)

Need more help?

Expand your Office skills
Explore training
Got It
Get instant Excel help
Connect to an expert now
Subject to Got It terms and conditions

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.