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The EXACT formula compares two strings and returns TRUE if they are identical, including case. It returns FALSE if they are not identical. It is commonly used to check if two cells contain the same text.


Use the EXACT formula with the syntax shown below, it has 2 required parameters:

=EXACT(string1, string2)
  1. string1 (required):
    The first string to compare.
  2. string2 (required):
    The second string to compare.


Here are a few example use cases that explain how to use the EXACT formula in Google Sheets.

Check for exact match

You can use EXACT to check if two cells contain the same text, including case. This can be useful in data validation or cleaning tasks.

Compare case-sensitive text

EXACT is case-sensitive, so it can be used to compare strings while ignoring case differences. For example, if you want to compare the text 'apple' and 'APPLE' and treat them as different, you can use EXACT.

Compare text with leading/trailing spaces

EXACT considers leading and trailing spaces when comparing strings. This can be useful to identify differences in text that may not be visible. For example, 'apple' and 'apple ' are considered different by EXACT.

Common Mistakes

EXACT not working? Here are some common mistakes people make when using the EXACT Google Sheets Formula:

Forgetting quotation marks

The EXACT formula requires that string values are enclosed in quotation marks. Forgetting to include these can result in a #NAME? error.

Using the wrong data type

The EXACT formula only works with text strings. Using it with numbers or other data types can result in unexpected results or errors.

The following functions are similar to EXACT or are often used with it in a formula:

  • FIND

    The FIND formula in Google Sheets searches for a specific text within another text and returns the position of the first occurrence of the text. This formula is often used to extract a substring from a larger string or to check if a certain text exists within another text.


    The SEARCH formula is used to find the position of a piece of text within a larger string of text. It returns the position of the first character of the searched text in the text being searched. This formula is case-insensitive, meaning it will find all instances of the searched text regardless of capitalization.


    The LOWER formula converts all letters in a specified text string to lowercase. It takes one required parameter, which is the text string to be converted. This formula is commonly used to standardize text data for easier analysis and comparison.


    The UPPER formula in Google Sheets converts all the letters in a given text string to uppercase. It takes one required argument, the text to convert. This formula is commonly used to standardize text data or to make it easier to compare text values.

Learn More

You can learn more about the EXACT Google Sheets function on Google Support.