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Excel VLOOKUP Function

Text Version of VLOOKUP Tutorial


Excel VLOOKUP Function

Excel VLOOKUP Function

© Ted French

Related Tutoial: Step by Step version of Excel VLOOKUP tutorial including screen shots

Excel's VLOOKUP function, which stands for vertical lookup, is used to find specific information that has been stored in a spreadsheet table.

Note: The data in the table should be sorted in ascending order (alphabetically A to Z).

The syntax for the VLOOKUP function is:

= VLOOKUP ( lookup_value , table_array , col_index_num , range_lookup )

lookup _value: The value you want to find in the first column of the table_array.

table_array: This is the table of data that VLOOKUP searches to find the information you are after.

The table_array must contain at least two columns of data. The first column contains the lookup_values.

col_index_num: The number of the column in the table_array that contains the data you want returned.

range_lookup: A logical value (TRUE or FALSE only) that indicates whether you want VLOOKUP to find an exact or an approximate match to the lookup_value. Typing False will return exact matches only.

Example Using Excel 2010's VLOOKUP Function:

For help with this example, see the image above.

  1. Enter the following data into the cells indicated:

    Cell Data

    D3 - Part
    D4 - Bearing
    D5 - Bolt
    D6 - Cog
    D7 - Gear
    D8 - Washer

    E3 - Price
    E4 - $17.34
    E5 - $1.54
    E6 - $20.21
    E7 - $23.56
    E8 - $1.43

  2. Click on cell D1 and type the word Bolt. This is the part we are trying to price.

  3. Click on cell E2 - the location where the results - in this case, the price of a bolt - will be displayed.

  4. Click on the Formulas tab.

  5. Choose Lookup & Reference from the ribbon to open the function drop down list.

  6. Click on VLOOKUP in the list to bring up the function's dialog box.

  7. In the dialog box, click on the Lookup _value line.

  8. Click on cell D1 in the spreadsheet to tell VLOOKUP that we are looking for the price of bolts.

  9. In the dialog box, click on the Table_array line.

  10. Drag select cells D4 to E8 in the spreadsheet to enter that range into the dialog box. The table_array is the table of data that VLOOKUP searches for the lookup_value specified in cell D1.

  11. In the dialog box, click on the Col_index_num line.

  12. Type the number 2 to indicate that the data we want returned is in column 2 of the table_array.

  13. In the dialog box, click on the Range_lookup line.

  14. Type the word False to indicate that we want an exact match for our requested data.

  15. Click OK.

  16. In cell D1 of the spreadsheet, type the word bolt.

  17. The value $1.54 should appear in cell E1 displaying the price of a bolt as indicated in the table_array.

  18. When you click on cell E1, the complete function
    = VLOOKUP ( D1 , D4:E8 , 2 , FALSE ) appears in the formula bar above the worksheet.

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