VLookup – Microsoft Explanation of the function

Official Microsoft Office Definitiion of Vlookup

Searches for a value in the first column of a table array and returns a value in the same row from another column in the table array.

The V in VLOOKUP stands for vertical. Use VLOOKUP instead of HLOOKUP when your comparison values are located in a column to the left of the data that you want to find.

VLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,col_index_num,range_lookup)

 

Lookup_value The value to search in the first column of the table array (array: Used to build single formulas that produce multiple results or that operate on a group of arguments that are arranged in rows and columns. An array range shares a common formula; an array constant is a group of constants used as an argument.). Lookup_value can be a value or a reference. If lookup_value is smaller than the smallest value in the first column of table_array, VLOOKUP returns the #N/A error value.

Table_array Two or more columns of data. Use a reference to a range or a range name. The values in the first column of table_array are the values searched by lookup_value. These values can be text, numbers, or logical values. Uppercase and lowercase text are equivalent.

Col_index_num The column number in table_array from which the matching value must be returned. A col_index_num of 1 returns the value in the first column in table_array; a col_index_num of 2 returns the value in the second column in table_array, and so on. If col_index_num is:

  • Less than 1, VLOOKUP returns the #VALUE! error value.
  • Greater than the number of columns in table_array, VLOOKUP returns the #REF! error value.

Range_lookup A logical value that specifies whether you want VLOOKUP to find an exact match or an approximate match:

  • If TRUE or omitted, an exact or approximate match is returned. If an exact match is not found, the next largest value that is less than lookup_value is returned.

The values in the first column of table_array must be placed in ascending sort order; otherwise, VLOOKUP may not give the correct value. You can put the values in ascending order by choosing the Sort command from the Data menu and selecting Ascending. For more information, see Default sort orders.

  • If FALSE, VLOOKUP will only find an exact match. In this case, the values in the first column of table_array do not need to be sorted. If there are two or more values in the first column of table_array that match the lookup_value, the first value found is used. If an exact match is not found, the error value #N/A is returned.

Remarks

  • When searching text values in the first column of table_array, ensure that the data in the first column of table_array does not have leading spaces, trailing spaces, inconsistent use of straight ( ‘ or ” ) and curly ( ‘ or “) quotation marks, or nonprinting characters. In these cases, VLOOKUP may give an incorrect or unexpected value. For more information on functions that you can use to clean text data, see Text and Data functions.
  • When searching number or date values, ensure that the data in the first column of table_array is not stored as text values. In this case, VLOOKUP may give an incorrect or unexpected value. For more information, see Convert numbers stored as text to numbers.
  • If range_lookup is FALSE and lookup_value is text, then you can use the wildcard characters, question mark (?) and asterisk (*), in lookup_value. A question mark matches any single character; an asterisk matches any sequence of characters. If you want to find an actual question mark or asterisk, type a tilde (~) preceding the character.

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