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Excel Guide

How to Use VLOOKUP in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

VLOOKUP is a powerful function in Excel that allows you to search for a value in a table and retrieve corresponding information. Follow these steps to use VLOOKUP effectively:

Basic Syntax:

=VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])


  • lookup_value: The value to search for in the first column of the table.
  • table_array: The range that contains the data, including the column where the lookup value will be searched.
  • col_index_num: The column number in the table from which to retrieve the value.
  • [range_lookup]: Optional. If TRUE (or omitted), VLOOKUP searches for an approximate match. If FALSE, it searches for an exact match.

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Organize Your Data:

Create a table with the relevant information. Ensure that the column containing the lookup values is the first column in your table.

2. Select a Cell for the Result:

Choose the cell where you want the result to appear.

3. Enter the VLOOKUP Formula:

=VLOOKUP("Banana", A2:B6, 2, FALSE)

This formula looks for "Banana" in the first column of the table (A2:A6) and returns the corresponding value from the second column (B2:B6). The FALSE parameter indicates an exact match.

4. Press Enter:

Hit Enter to execute the formula, and the result ("0.9") should appear in the selected cell.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Handle Errors:
  2. To handle potential errors, you can use IFERROR with VLOOKUP. For example: =IFERROR(VLOOKUP(...), "Not Found").
  3. Approximate Match:
  4. If you're okay with an approximate match, you can omit the [range_lookup] parameter or use TRUE. This is useful when dealing with sorted data.
  5. Col_index_num Rules:
  6. The col_index_num is the column number in the table_array from which to retrieve the value. Ensure it is a positive number corresponding to the column's position in the table.
  7. Dynamic Range:
  8. Consider using dynamic ranges (named ranges or tables) to make your formulas more flexible.

Example Use Case:

Let's say you want to find the price of "Orange" from the table. The formula would be:

=VLOOKUP("Orange", A2:B6, 2, FALSE)

This formula searches for "Orange" in the first column of the table and returns the corresponding price from the second column. Adjust the parameters based on your specific requirements.