Fuzzy lookup sheets

published on 21 May 2021

The powerful google sheets tool for matching names or similar text.

Have you ever attempted to use VLOOKUP in google sheets but been frustrated when it does not return any matches? Fuzzy Lookup is a google sheets add-on that takes an input, searches for the best match it can find, and returns that best match along with a similarity rating.

Fuzzy Lookup utilizes advanced mathematics to calculate the probability that what it finds matches up with your search entry, which means the tool works even when characters (numbers, letters, punctuation) do not match up exactly.

Fuzzy Lookup has given me the ability to quickly make sense of unorganized client data and draw conclusions that otherwise would have taken hours to discover. To illustrate the main functionality of Fuzzy Lookup, here are a few examples that this tool identified as similar (similarity scores range from 0 to 1, with 1 being the highest similarity possible):

Similarity using fuzzy lookup
Similarity using fuzzy lookup

You can see how each entry on the left is technically different than the corresponding entry to the right, but Fuzzy Lookup recognized that there is a chance they really mean the same thing. Fuzzy Lookup returns a probability score for each pair, which means you can quickly sort out, edit, and compare lists like these.

This tool is useful if you have a big list of names that were not entered in a consistent manner, or if some entries are abbreviated and others are not.

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