This formula returns the position of the second occurrence of “red” in the list. Note: this is an array formula and must be entered with control + shift + enter. The core of this formula is the SMALL function, which simply returns the nth smallest value in a list of values that correspond to row numbers. The row numbers have been “filtered” by the IF statement, which applies the logic for a match. Working from the inside out, IF compares all values in the named range “list” to the value in B5, which creates an array like this: The “value if true” is a set of relative row numbers created by this code: The result is an array like this: See this page for a full explanation. With a logical test that returns an array of results, the IF function acts as a filter – only row numbers that correspond to a match survive, the rest return FALSE. The result returned by IF looks like this: The numbers 1, 5, and 7 correspond to the location of “red” in the list. Finally, SMALL returns the nth smallest item in this list, ignoring FALSE values. In the example, F5 contains 2, so SMALL returns the 2nd smallest value: 5.

Get associated value

Once you have the relative position of the nth match, you can use that position with the INDEX function to return an associated value.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.