Excel.Tips.Net: Understanding the VLOOKUP Function

May 08, 2012 by in Excel Tips

By Allen Wyatt for Excel.Tips.Net

Understanding the VLOOKUP Function

Excel has a huge number of different worksheet functions—some of them used quite often, and others quite obscure. One of the more obscure functions (at least for Excel novices) is the VLOOKUP function. Understanding how this function works can make your life much simpler, especially when dealing with tables of data and pulling information from those tables.

VLOOKUP is a shortened form of “Vertical Lookup.” It is a function that looks vertically (up and down) through a data table and extracts information from the table as you direct. For instance, let’s assume you have a data table that lists part numbers and their prices. The part numbers are in column H, and the prices for those parts are in column I. (Assume the data table is in the range H5:I27.) You can use the following formula to look up a part number (located in cell C28) and return its price:

=VLOOKUP(C28,H5:I27,2)

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The tips and ideas from ExcelRibbon.Tips.Net are designed specifically for users of Excel starting with Excel 2007. You'll find just about everything you need to become productive with the program right away. (If you need help with other versions of Excel, visit the ExcelTips site.)

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