What Is VLOOKUP Function & How To Use
It In Excel 2013?
If you use Excel a lot at work, odds of you finding yourself in situations where you’re looking
for a function that can search values for you in a table, are high. With Excel up and running, you
no longer need to design the logic for your requirements in order to carry out the desired
operation. Instead, what you can use is the built-in VLOOKUP function, as it allows you to
easily search the required values from the defined range.
The V in the name stands for Vertical. It’s basically a database function that can retrieve data
from a list (or a database). Anyone familiar with database queries would know how this function
works: It can retrieve values from a column (hence the name vertical) based on the given value
of another column called the key. Before getting into the details, let’s understand what it actually
does? See Here
Although, it does sound pretty easy, you should keep it in mind that this function is best utilized
in situations where your list needs to be reusable. For example, if you employ the function where
every time the cashier enters the id of an item, he gets the details of the item, then it would be
useful, but if you need to check the value just once, you’re better off searching the
value manually from the table/data set.
Let’s get started with the same example that we used in
our previous excel guide: a movie store.
As said earlier, VLOOKUP is a
database function, so it needs a key to work. We have used the
ID column for our key. It must be noted that since it is an
identifier, it must be a unique value for each row in your database
(or table). Now we make two tables in Excel; one will act as our database and the other as our
Our secondary list contains an empty table with column names. It is the
interface where the cashier of our fictitious Movie Store will obtain
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information from. The cashier inputs the ID of the particular item in the ID column, and the rest
of the information is retrieved automatically from our database.
In our Secondary Sheet, we want the VLOOKUP function
to retrieve value for the column B and C, when the user
inputs the ID in the column A. Click the cell B3 followed
by insert function in the formulas tab.
A new window opens up that has a list of different functions. Select “All”
in category option and search for VLOOKUP function in the given list.
Click OK. Now you have assigned VLOOKUP function to the cell B3, but
it is yet to be implemented. There are four values that the function required to work. These are
Unique Identifiers to validate the data you want to retrieve
Location of the original list
What information from the database associated with the identifier needs to be retrieved?
Is the database sorted in ascending order of the identifier?
A new window opens that prompts you to input these values.
In our Lookup Value, we give the cell
number of the ID, the cell which needs to be
searched in our main list. Read More
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Table_array will be the location of our primary list or database.
Keep it in mind that although right now, the lists are a part of the
same workbook, it doesn’t really make a big difference if the
database is located in a different workbook. The procedure
remains the same. Click the select icon on the right of the edit box
of Table_array edit box. A select view will open using which you
can select the list in your main sheet.
Click the import button and you have inserted the value of Table_array.
The third value will determine what value is returned when the given ID
matches with an ID in our database. In our current example, either title or
price can be returned. Since we are implementing the value of title cell,
we input value 2 (meaning return the value of the second column).
The last value, Range_lookup is a binary input. If your database is sorted in
ascending order of the ID, then input true, otherwise false. This is an optional
value and it can be left blank. Since our database is sorted, we input TRUE in
the edit box.
Follow a similar procedure for the cell C3, and remember to change the
Col_index_num to 3 to return the price values.
We have completely implemented a VLOOKUP
function. To test it, insert the id of any movie from the main database
in the ID column of the secondary list and the details will fill
themselves up automatically.
Did you like this tutorial? Tell us what you think in the comments section Here.
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