VLOOKUP Function in Excel
Have you ever found yourself spending hours searching for specific data in a sea of numbers and spreadsheets? Well, we have the perfect solution to save you time and simplify your workflow: the VLOOKUP function in Excel! Whether you’re an Excel novice or a seasoned pro, this powerful tool can revolutionize how you analyze and organize your data. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a step-by-step journey through the ins and outs of the VLOOKUP function, giving you real-life examples along the way. Get ready to unlock Excel’s hidden potential and become a master at finding information with just a few clicks!
Introduction to VLOOKUP function
The VLOOKUP function is one of the most commonly used and powerful tools in Microsoft Excel. It stands for “Vertical Lookup” and allows users to search for a specific value in a table or range of data, and return a corresponding value from another column. This function is especially useful when working with large amounts of data, as it can save time and effort by automating the process of searching and retrieving information.
The VLOOKUP function works by referencing a lookup value (the value you want to find) in one column, then searching for that same value in another column. Once a match is found, it will return the corresponding value from a specified column within the same row. This makes it an incredibly versatile tool for organizing, analyzing, and manipulating data.
To understand how the VLOOKUP function works, let’s break down its syntax:
Syntax of excel VLOOKUP function
=VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num,[range_lookup])
- lookup_value: This is the value you want to search for within your table or range.
- table_array: This refers to the entire table or range where you want to perform your lookup.
- col_index_num: This specifies which column within your table or range contains the desired result.
- [range_lookup]: This optional argument determines whether you want an exact match or an approximate match. It can be set to TRUE (or omitted), which allows for an approximate match using either ascending order or descending order; or FALSE, which requires an exact match.
Preparing Your Data for using vlookup
To use VLOOKUP successfully, your data must be organized in a tabular format with unique identifiers such as ID numbers or names. Make sure that both the lookup value and the values being searched are in separate columns so that you can easily refer to.
Example-1: Using VLOOKUP to retrieve data
In the below example we can see that we have values in ID column and we wanted to fetch product name against them. We can do it manually one by one which is very tedious. To overcome this we will use our VLOOKUP function. As you can see in the red highlighted box we used F2 as lookup value while A1:B56 used as an lookup array. After that we used 2 as column index number as it stands 2nd column from lookup array. And in the last we used value zero to get exact match.
Example-2: Using VLOOKUP to retrieve data from a different sheet or workbook
In this example we will try to fetch data from another sheet of the same workbook. data is available in below mentioned table and we will fetch data for the list which is available in excel sheet1. We will use VLOOKUP formula as we used in the previous example.
Here in this example we can see that values were not fetched for last two values. Though values against these values are available in the next sheet. The reason for this is that we didn’t used absolute reference in table_array. So when we dragged the formula the references also got dragged due to which it were not able to fetch values.
To overcome this we will use $ value before row and column as illustrated below.This absolute reference will ensure that whenever we will drag the formula the reference will remain constant.
Example-3: Using VLOOKUP to pick values from multiple columns
In this example we will try to find a way by which we just write a formula and it will fetch values to multiple columns.mThis is a new function in excel. Lets understand this by the below example. In this example we used the same formula as we used in the previous example,just we used a new trick to mention column names in a Curley bracket. You can see here we used values 2,3, & 4 for column numbers for whom we wanted to fetch values. Just write this and press enter all values will automatically spread to all different columns. No multiple pasting of formula or value changes again and again.
Example-4: Using VLOOKUP to pick values based on wild card
In the below example we can see that in the product name, names is not complete. Either initial or last part of name is missing and in the next example two words is missing. So we can see we use asterisk(*) before or after the word to find our missing part to get matched. We also use question mark (?) to find missing alphabets in any word.
You can download this excel file with vlookup function in excel example from here.
You can also read more on excel vlookup function in excel from here.