VLOOKUP function – Excel Formula

Vlookup Tutorial
Vlookup Tutorial

Vlookup function

This is the best formula among all excel formulas. Hence you are going to learn this formula in detailed in this article. Also you are going to know all the vlookup advantages and disadvantages ( Limitations ), definition,Syntax, Approximate Match, Exactmatch, which areas can be used the vlookup, Vlookup in same worksheet, Vlookup with duplicates, Vlookup different sheet, Named range in Vlookup, How to create Named range in excel and Vlookup Meaning.Vlookup full form is vertical lookup, Unless we follow the syntax, we get the result as vlookup Errors 

Vlookup definition:

Using this function we can get the right side values based on left values. In the below example 1 you can find the same.

Syntax :

=vlookup(Lookup-value, Table-Array, Column-index-number,Exactmatch or Approximatematch)

Note: Always it is better to sort the values of the data in ascending or descending depending on your requirement to get the results else there might be chance to get unexpected results by this formula.

Example 1:

Vlookup in same worksheet:

Vlookup in Same worksheet Example
Vlookup in Same worksheet

Vlookup Syntax Explanation:

Lookup Value:  G4 cell is the Lookup value in the below example

Table Array:  C column and D columns are Table array

Column index Number: Since we select only two columns C and D. And we require the 2nd column values as results, we are going to give the column index number as 2

Exact match: 99.99% of time we regularly use the exact-match that is denoted by zero ‘0’. Here in the below example you can find the exact-match only.

Example 2:

Vlookup from another sheet:

It is also same as example 1, only one difference is that you need to add the sheet name to the table array in the below syntax. Here in the below example you can find the data is in the vlookup data sheet. And result in the Vlookup result sheet. Hence the syntax would be as shown in the below picture.

Table Array:

It has the change that is ‘Vlookup Data’!

vlookup from another sheet Data
vlookup from another sheet-Data

Vlookup from different Sheet as shown in the below

vlookup from another sheet-formula
vlookup from another sheet-formula

Approximate match: Very rarely we use this approximate-match that is denoted by ‘1’

Example 3:

Vlookup Example To Use Approximate Match
Vlookup Example To Use Approximate Match

The below areas can be used the vlookup function :

Userforms, subroutines, modules, textbox, listbox, combobox, worksheets (with in the same worksheets,), different excel worksheets (means one sheet to another worksheet with in the same workbook), different excel workbooks  and User defined functions

Vlookup advantages:

  1. Mainly this function can be used for the purpose of searching values for the respective lookup values.
  2. VLOOKUP is simple formula and very powerful in excel spreadsheet
  3. Many Excel formula can be used within the and along with VLOOKUP
  4. Assigning the right values for the given lookup values as I have explained you in the approximate match example in the above.
  5. We can customize the function by taking the support of the other excel functions like countif, sumif, count, countifs, sumifs, and sum function. This function can be used with the combination of the sumproduct, if function, nested if function, Indirect, index and match functions.
  6. VLOOKUP can be customized in the user defined functions as and when we require. This is one of the major advantages.
  7. This function can be used for Pivot tables and tables also to get the exact values
  8. We can use the named ranges for range criteria in the vlookup syntax as shown in the below

Named Range in the Vlookup:

Named range is nothing but a collections of cells within the range where you can provide the name for that specific range


Vlookup Example to use Named Range
Vlookup Example to use Named Range

Named Range In Excel:

Creating Named Range in Excel Spreadsheet
Creating Named Range in Excel Spreadsheet

Vlookup disadvantages ( Limitations ):

  1. Vlookup can not get the right value when there are duplicates in the lookup value related column. We must need to sort the data when there are duplicate values in the lookup value related column. Then this function can return the first value related value This is the major drawback of this function. Of course we can overcome this problem by using the different functions in the excel workbooks

Vlookup with duplicate values:

Example 4:

Vlookup without sorting for duplicate lookupvalue
Vlookup without sorting for duplicate lookupvalue


2. Using this function we can only pull the right side values as we discussed in the above. If we need to pull the left side values based on the right side value. We can use the reverse vlookup function. This is the combination of the index and match functions.

3.It only works on columns if we need to use for the rows then we have to use the Hlookup function which is very similar to Vlookup function. Hence reverse vlookup which is the combination of the index and match functions.

4. Vlookup major disadvantage is when you have more vlookup formulas within Spreadsheet or within one Excel workbook, it hangs a lot since it is an array formula. When user getting hanged in the workbook that time user need to setup formulas calculation option as manual, you can find the below screen shot to setup manual option in the excel.

Example 5:

Formula Calculation option setting as Manual
Formula Calculation option setting as Manual

Once we finish working in the excel, we need to set back as Automatic in the above option as usual

Vlookup Meaning:

Vlookup significance is nothing but a Vertical lookup where you can search the data vertically based on the lookup values availability. As I have explained you in the above examples. Vlookup is one of the key functions within the excel Spreadsheet. Almost many MIS tasks get complete with only with this function. Still this has some limitations as we have already discussed in the above. But we can overcome this lose by taking the support of the other excel functions. Here in the excel Vlookup point of view vertical in the sense column by column

Example 6:

Column A, Column B wise from left to right we can search the values using this VLOOKUP formula in Excel spreadsheets. Please observe the below Screenshot for better understanding

Vlookup searches from Left to right vertically column wise
Vlookup searches from Left to right vertically column wise

There are many wonderful examples can be derived by Vlookup in the live projects, those also we are trying to include in this article at the earliest.

This entire article can be considered as Vlookup tutorial

See Also :

Index & Match Combination ( Reverse Vlookup)
VLOOKUP Error types 
How To Use If And VLOOKUP Together


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  2. This is an excellent tutorial and explanation of the benefits of VLOOKUP. Knowing how to use Excel is crucial for success in business and these practical, easy to understand examples are beneficial to any new or beginner user. I look forward to reviewing more materials on this website! Well done!

    • Thanks AJ,

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    • I will add more stuff regards to VLOOKUP. Hence Keep watching. You can see the Vlookup with other functions.

      VLOOKUP vs Other functions. Stay tuned….

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    • Thank you very much for your appreciation and I am going to include all about the VLOOKUP formula at the earliest. And also advise me in case if i have to include any thing in this. I have covered 100% about the VLOOKUP. Still I will cover many examples and advantages of the VLOOKUP function in Excel spreadsheet

  5. Hi, just wanted to let you know that the you have given wonderful information regarding VLOOKUP.
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    • Thank you for read the article. Also please let us know if you still need to more example on VLOOKUP. And we will take some time and provide more example

    • Thanks for your feedback. I am going to do more examples on VLOOKUP in future. Please keep watching the tutorials also provide ideas to implement this article

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