Excel VLOOKUP tutorial for beginners with formula examples

Today we'll look at how to use VLOOKUP in Excel with many detailed step-by-step examples. You'll learn how to Vlookup from another sheet and different workbook, search with wildcards, and a lot more.

This article begins a series covering VLOOKUP, one of the most useful Excel functions and at the same time one of the most intricate and least understood. We will try to explain the basics in a very plain language to make the learning curve for an inexperienced user as easy as possible. We will also provide formula examples that cover the most typical usages of VLOOKUP in Excel, and try to make them both informative and fun.

Excel VLOOKUP function - syntax and basic uses

What is VLOOKUP? To begin with, it is an Excel function :) What does it do? It searches for the value you specify and returns a matching value from another column. More technically, the VLOOKUP function looks up a value in the first column of a given range and returns a value in the same row from another column.

In its common usage, Excel VLOOKUP searches through your data set based on the unique identifier and brings you a piece of information associated with that unique identifier.

The letter "V" stands for "vertical" and is used to differentiate VLOOKUP from the HLOOKUP function that looks up a value in a row rather than column (H stands for "horizontal").

The function is available in all versions of Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2007 and lower.

VLOOKUP syntax

The syntax for the VLOOKUP function is as follows:

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

As you see, the function has 4 arguments - the first three are requited and the last one is optional.

  • Lookup_value is the value to search for.
    This can be a value (number, date or text), cell reference (reference to a cell containing a lookup value), or the value returned by some other function. Unlike numbers and cell references, text values should always be in enclosed in "double quotes".

    As an example, please have a look at the below formula and try to "translate" it into English:

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

    At this point, we can only say that the formula obviously looks up the word "lion".

  • Table_array is two or more columns of data.

    The VLOOKUP function searches for the lookup value in the first column of the table array, which may contain various text values, numbers, dates, and logical values.

    So, you can now read the above formula a little further: search for "lion" in the range A2:A6 (because A is the 1st column in our table array). So far, so good, right?

  • Col_index_num is the number of the column from which the value should be returned. The counting starts from the leftmost column in the table array, which is 1.

    Meaning, our sample formula will return a matching value from column B, which is 2nd in the table array.

  • Range_lookup (optional) - determines whether to search for approximate or exact match:
    • TRUE or omitted (default) - approximate match. If an exact match is not found, the formula searches for the closest match, i.e. the largest value that is smaller than the lookup value. Requires sorting the lookup column in ascending order.
    • FALSE - exact match. The formula searches for a value exactly equal to the lookup value. If an exact match is not found, a #N/A value is returned.

Knowing all the arguments, you should now have no problem reading the whole formula: search for "lion" in A2:A6, find an exact match, and return a value from column B in the same row:

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

For the sake of convenience, you can type the value of interest in some cell, say E1, replace the "hardcoded" text with the cell reference, and get the formula to look up any value you input in E1:


Excel VLOOKUP function

Does anything remain unclear? Then try looking at it this way:

Excel VLOOKUP formula

How to do a Vlookup in Excel

When using VLOOKUP formulas in real-life worksheets, the main rule of thumb is this: lock table array with absolute cell references (like $A$2:$C$11) to prevent it from changing when copying a formula to other cells.

The lookup value in most cases should be a relative reference (like E2) or you can lock only the column coordinate ($E2). When the formula gets copied down the column, the reference will adjust automatically for each row.

To see how it works in practice, please consider the following example. To our sample table, we have added one more column that ranks the animals by speed (column A) and want to find the 1st, 5th and 10th fastest sprinter in the world. For this, enter the lookup ranks in some cells (E2:E4 in the screenshot below), and use the following formulas:

To pull the animal names from column B:

=VLOOKUP($E2, $A$2:$C$11, 2, FALSE)

To extract speed from column C:

=VLOOKUP($E2, $A$2:$C$11, 3, FALSE)

Enter the above formulas in cells F2 and G2, select those cells, and drag the formulas to the below rows:
Using VLOOKUP in Excel

If you investigate the formula in a lower row, you will notice that the lookup value reference has adjusted for that specific row, while the table array is locked:
Lock the table array with absolute references.

Below, you will have a few more useful tips that will save you a lot of headache and troubleshooting time.

Excel VLOOKUP - 5 things to remember!

  1. The VLOOKUP function cannot look at its left. It always searches in the leftmost column of the table array and returns a value from a column to the right. If you need to pull values from left, use the INDEX MATCH combination that can does not care about the positioning of the lookup and return columns.
  2. The VLOOKUP function is case-insensitive, meaning that uppercase and lowercase characters are treated as equivalent. To distinguish the letter case, use case sensitive VLOOKUP formulas.
  3. Remember about the importance of the last parameter. Use TRUE for approximate match and FALSE for exact match. For full details, please see VLOOKUP TRUE vs. FALSE.
  4. When searching for approximate match, make sure the data in the lookup column is sorted in ascending order.
  5. If the lookup value is not found, a #N/A error is returned. For information about other errors, please see Why Excel VLOOKUP is not working.

Excel VLOOKUP examples

I hope vertical lookup is starting to look a bit more familiar to you. To strengthen your knowledge, let's build a few more VLOOKUP formulas.

How to Vlookup from another sheet in Excel

In practice, the Excel VLOOKUP function is rarely used with data in the same worksheet. Most often you will have to pull matching data from a different worksheet.

To Vlookup from a different Excel sheet, put the worksheet's name followed by an exclamation mark in the table_array argument before the range reference. For example, to search in the range A2:B10 on Sheet2, use this formula:

=VLOOKUP("Product1", Sheet2!A2:B10, 2)

Of course, you don't have to type the sheet's name manually. Simply, start typing the formula and when it comes to the table_array argument, switch to the lookup worksheet and select the range using the mouse.

For instance, this is how you can look up the A2 value in the range A2:A9 on the Prices worksheet and return a matching value from column C:

=VLOOKUP(A2, Prices!$A$2:$C$9, 3, FALSE)

A formula to Vlookup from another worksheet


  • If the spreadsheet name contains spaces or non-alphabetical characters, it must be enclosed in single quotation marks, e.g. 'Price list'!$A$2:$C$9.
  • In case you use a VLOOKUP formula for multiple cells, remember to lock table_array with the $ sign, like $A$2:$C$9.

How to Vlookup from another workbook in Excel

To Vlookup from a different Excel workbook, put the workbook's name enclosed in square brackets before the worksheet's name.

For example, here's the formula to look up the A2 value on the sheet named Prices in the Price_List.xlsx workbook:

=VLOOKUP(A2, [Price_List.xlsx]Prices!$A$2:$C$9, 3, FALSE)

If either a workbook name or worksheet name contains spaces or non-alphabetical characters, you should enclose them in single quotes like this:

=VLOOKUP(A2, '[Price List.xlsx]Prices'!$A$2:$C$9, 3, FALSE)

The easiest way to make a VLOOKUP formula that refers to a different workbook is this:

  1. Open both files.
  2. Start typing your formula, switch to the other workbook, and select the table array using the mouse.
  3. Enter the remaining arguments and press the Enter key to complete your formula.

The result will look somewhat like the screenshot below:
VLOOKUP from another workbook

Once you close the file with your lookup table, the VLOOKUP formula will continue working, but it will now display the full path for the closed workbook:
Formula to Vlookup from a closed workbook

For more information, please see How to refer to another Excel sheet or workbook.

How to Vlookup from a named range in another sheet

In case you plan to use the same lookup range in many formulas, you can create a named range for it and type the name directly in the table_array argument.

To create a named range, simply select the cells and type the name you want in the Name box to the left of the Formula bar. For the detailed steps, please see How to name a range in Excel.

For this example, we gave the name Prices_2020 to the data cells (A2:C9) in the lookup sheet and get this compact formula:

=VLOOKUP(A2, Prices_2020, 3, FALSE)

Vlookup from a named range in another sheet

Most names in Excel apply to the entire workbook, so you don't need to specify the worksheet's name when using named ranges.

If the named range is in another workbook, put the workbook's name before the range name, for example:

=VLOOKUP(A2, 'Price List.xlsx'!Prices_2020, 3, FALSE)

Such formulas are far more understandable, aren't they? Besides, using named ranges can be a good alternative to absolute references. Since a named range doesn't change, you can be sure that your table array will remain locked no matter where the formula is moved or copied.

If you have converted your lookup range into a fully-functional Excel table, then you can do a Vlookup based on the table name, e.g. Price_table in the below formula:

=VLOOKUP(A2, Price_table, 3, FALSE)

Table references, also called structured references, are resilient and immune to many data manipulations. For instance, you can remove or add new rows to your lookup table without worrying about updating the references.

Using wildcards in VLOOKUP formula

Like many other formulas, the Excel VLOOKUP function accepts the following wildcard characters:

  • Question mark (?) to match any single character.
  • Asterisk (*) to match any sequence of characters.

Wildcards prove really useful in many situations:

  • When you do not remember the exact text you are looking for.
  • When you are looking for a text string that is part of the cell contents.
  • When a lookup column contains leading or trailing spaces. In that case, you may rack your brain trying to figure out why a normal formula does not work.

Example 1. Look up text starting or ending with certain characters

Suppose you want to find a certain customer in the below database. You do not remember the surname, but you are confident that it starts with "ack".

To return the last name from column A, use the following Vlookup wildcard formula:

=VLOOKUP("ack*", $A$2:$B$10, 1, FALSE)

To retrieve the license key from column B, use this one (the difference is only in the column index number):

=VLOOKUP("ack*", $A$2:$B$10, 2, FALSE)

You can also enter the known part of the name in some cell, say E1, and combine the wildcard character with the cell reference:

=VLOOKUP(E1&"*", $A$2:$B$10, 1, FALSE)

The below screenshot shows the results:
Look up text that begins with certain characters

Below are a few more VLOOKUP formulas with wildcards.

Find the last name ending with "son":

=VLOOKUP("*son", $A$2:$B$10, 1, FALSE)

Get the name that starts with "joh" and ends with "son":

=VLOOKUP("joh*son", $A$2:$B$10, 1, FALSE)

Pull a 5-character last name:

=VLOOKUP("?????", $A$2:$B$10, 1, FALSE)

Example 2. VLOOKUP wildcard based on cell value

From the previous example, you already know that it is possible to concatenate an ampersand (&) and a cell reference to make a lookup string. To find a value that contains a given character(s) in any position, put an ampersand before and after the cell reference.

Let's say, you wish to get a name corresponding to a certain license key, but you don't know the whole key, only a few characters. With the keys in column A, names in column B, and part of the target key in E1, you can do a wildcard Vlookup in this way:

Extract the key:

=VLOOKUP("*"&E1&"*", $A$2:$B$10, 1, FALSE)

Extract the name:

=VLOOKUP("*"&E1&"*", $A$2:$B$10, 2, FALSE)

VLOOKUP wildcard based on cell value


  • For a wildcard VLOOKUP formula to work correctly, use an exact match (FALSE is the last argument).
  • If more than one match is found, the first one is returned.


And now, it's time to take a closer look at the last argument of the Excel VLOOKUP function. Though optional, the range_lookup parameter is highly important. Depending on whether you choose TRUE or FALSE, your formula may yield different results.

Excel VLOOKUP exact match (FALSE)

If range_lookup is set to FALSE, a Vlookup formula searches for a value that is exactly equal to the lookup value. If two or more matches are found, the 1st one is returned. If an exact match is not found, the #N/A error occurs.

Excel VLOOKUP approximate match (TRUE)

If range_lookup is set to TRUE or omitted (default), the formula looks up the closest match. More precisely, it searches for an exact match first, and if an exact match is not found, looks for the next largest value that is less than the lookup value.

An approximate match Vlookup works with the following caveats:

  • The lookup column must be sorted in ascending order, from smallest to largest, otherwise a correct value may not be found.
  • If the lookup value is smaller than the smallest value in the lookup array, a #N/A error is returned.

The following examples will help you better understand the difference between an exact match and approximate match Vlookup and when each formula is best to be used.

Example 1. How to do an exact match Vlookup

To look up an exact match, just put FALSE in the last argument.

For this example, let's take the animal speed table, swap the columns, and try to find the animals that can run 80, 50 and 30 miles per hour. With the lookup values in D2, D3 and D4, enter the below formula in E2, and then copy it down to two more cells:

=VLOOKUP(D2, $A$2:$B$12, 2, FALSE)

As you can see, the formula returns "Lion" in E3 because they run exactly 50 per hour. For the other two lookup values an exact match is not found, and #N/A errors appear.
A VLOOKUP formula for exact match

Example 2. How to Vlookup for approximate match

To look up an approximate match, there are two essential things you need to do:

  • Sort the first column of table_array from smallest to largest.
  • Use TRUE for the range_lookup argument or omit it.

Sorting the lookup column is very important because the VLOOKUP function stops searching as soon as it finds a close match smaller than the lookup value. If the data is not sorted properly, you may end up having really strange results or a bunch of #N/A errors.

For our sample data, an approximate match Vlookup formula goes as follows:

=VLOOKUP(D2, $A$2:$B$12, 2, TRUE)

And returns the following results:

  • For a lookup value of "80", "Cheetah" is returned because its speed (70) is the closest match that is smaller than the lookup value.
  • For a lookup value of "50", an exact match is returned (Lion).
  • For a lookup value of "30", a #N/A error is returned because the lookup value is less than the smallest value in the lookup column.

A VLOOKUP formula for approximate match

Special tools to Vlookup in Excel

Undoubtedly, VLOOKUP is one of the most powerful and useful Excel functions, but it's also one of the most confusing ones. To make the learning curve less steep and experience more enjoyable, we included a couple of time-saving tools in our Ultimate Suite for Excel.

VLOOKUP Wizard - easy way to write complex formulas

The interactive VLOOKUP Wizard will walk you through the configuration options to build a perfect formula for the criteria you specify. Depending on your data structure, it will use the standard VLOOKUP function or an INDEX MATCH formula that can pull values from left.

To get your custom-tailored formula, this is what you need to do:

  1. Run the VLOOKUP Wizard.
  1. Choose your main table and lookup table.
  2. Specify the following columns (in many cases they are picked automatically):
    • Key column - the column in your main table containing the values to look up.
    • Lookup column - the column to look up against.
    • Return column - the column from which to retrieve values.
  3. Click the Insert button.

The following examples show the wizard in action.

Standard Vlookup

When the lookup column (Animal) is the leftmost column in the lookup table, a normal VLOOKUP formula for exact match is inserted:
Excel VLOOKUP formula for exact match

Vlookup to the left

When the lookup column (Animal) is on the right side of the return column (Speed), the wizard inserts an INDEX MATCH formula to Vlookup right to left:
INDEX MATCH formula to Vlookup to the left

Extra bonus! Due to the clever use of cells references, the formulas can be copied or moved to any column, without you having to update the references.

Merge Two Tables - formula-free alternative to Excel VLOOKUP

If your Excel files are enormously large and complex, the project's deadline is imminent, and you are looking for someone who can lend you a helping hand, try out the Merge Tables Wizard.

This tool is our visual and stress-free alternative to Excel's VLOOKUP function, which works this way:

  1. Select your main table.
  2. Select the lookup table.
  3. Choose one or several common columns as the unique identifier(s).
  4. Specify which columns to update.
  5. Optionally, choose the columns to add.
  6. Allow the Merge Tables Wizard a few seconds for processing… and enjoy the results :)

Merging two tables based on a common column

If you want to add these and 60+ other awesome tools to your Excel toolbox, don't miss special opportunity:

Get Promo Code for Ultimate Suite - exclusive offer for our blog readers!

That's how to use VLOOKUP in Excel at the basic level. In the next part of our tutorial, we will discuss advanced VLOOKUP examples that will teach you how to Vlookup multiple criteria, return all matches or Nth occurrence, look up across multiple sheets with a single formula, and more. I thank you for reading and hope to see you next week!

Available downloads

Excel VLOOKUP formula examples (.xlsx file)
Ultimate Suite 14-day fully-functional version (.zip file)

211 responses to "Excel VLOOKUP tutorial for beginners with formula examples"

  1. Pratap Chandra Maharana says:

    More vlookup function details

  2. madhu says:

    Thanks for your valuable feedback.
    Finding solution in a work sheet row's a1 b1 c1 d1..... Contained descriptions and same column have many part numbers. If a cell reference part number by matching index. description will be auto generated. please let me know if any formula is there?

  3. madhu says:

    Hi Madam
    i sent a mail ur mentioned mail id please find the mail .

  4. madhu says:

    Waiting for ur suggestion.

  5. uday Prasad says:



    With best regards

  6. Mohd Dilshad says:

    The Most Important VLOOKUP function in MS Office (Excel). You can big database in find one person of the result. Thank You

  7. Angel says:

    How I use the VLOOKUP formula in the situation below,

    for example;

    5 4 4 3 4 4 4 5 5 4 5 2

    the total number of 5 in this row is 4, how can I formula it so that I can use sum up a specified number in a row of more than 100 numbers or more?

    Thank you.

  8. Angel says:

    I had tried it, it is EXCELLENT

    Thank you.

  9. Michael S says:

    Thank you for the tutorial on using Vlookup with a separate workbook!

  10. jagadish s says:

    Thank for ur introdution of vlookup

  11. Rosie says:

    Hi, first of all, thanks a lot for giving us these tips and explanations, they are very useful.
    What if I want to find a value that is not on the first column? On the Speed/Animal example, what if I want my Vlookup formula to find the value Antelope so it will show me that animal's speed instead of doing it the other way around.
    I have 2 different sheets, I want to be able to create a Vlookup formula on sheet #1 that will allow me to match a value that is on the H column of the 2nd sheet and I want it to give me the value on the column E of the same sheet (I cannot change what's on the 2nd sheet). I tried something like =VLOOKUP(B8,NOMINA!A:H,5,FALSE), but it doesn't work.

  12. Hello Rosie,

    Because Excel VLOOKUP cannot look at its left, it cannot return a value from a column located to the left of the lookup column. In this can you can use an INDEX / MATCH formula like this:


    Where B8 is the lookup value, column E in NOMINA sheet is the lookup column and column H in the NOMINA sheet is the return column.

    For more details about using INDEX MATCH as a more flexible alternative to VLOOKUP, please see this tutorial:

  13. surekha says:

    2 coloum common vlookup actually I need to compare with booking with stock what I am having. Kindly help me. eg : In sheet1 bookings & in another sheet2 stock. model wise colour is common for both sheet. I need to arrive against stock the booking of the customer name.

    Please help me

  14. Matt says:


    I have a date in dd/mm/yyyy HH:MM:SS (26/11/2014 01:51:08)formatt, I want to use a wildcard vlookup. I tried =vlookup("26/11/2014*", etc etc.

    But no joy, can you help?


  15. sham says:

    Thanks very very very much for your good information ms excel. I want to learn form u more and more from u thanks and regards sham india please send more tips on my email

  16. swethakrishna says:

    hi i am unable to understand this and i am new to this vlookup can you help me out of this problem. ple....Svetlana Cheusheva

  17. Girraj says:

    I have an issue where in sheet 1 I have different no like
    and I have to put data from 2 different sheet which have

    in sheet 2

    in sheet 3

    so what single formula we can use so that data can be come in sheet 1 from sheet 2 and 3

    pls suggest

  18. chica says:

    Hi. Hope you well.im struggling to get resolve the problem with my vlookup. It continues show #NA. Can i please e-mail the workbook to you? I urgently need help and need to know how to avoid this in problem in the future. Many thanks.

  19. Thomas says:

    For problem 2 of the vlookup examples how would one go about figuring that out? I understand it's something like vlookup("Jamie"&"Jackie,$B$5:$E$17... but I'm lost from there. How do you compare the two values to come out with the higher value?

  20. Valentina says:

    Hi! I have a list of weeks that gets refreshed periodically, like:
    2015|05 (2)
    2015|06 (3)
    2015|07 (4)
    2015|08 (5)
    2015|09 (6)
    and so on. And I want to make a vlookup reference to them, but on my other table the dates get refreshed with a little difference, like:
    2015|05 (11)
    2015|06 (12)
    2015|07 (13)
    How can I make the reference work? Because I tried to make the range_lookup cell TRUE (an approximate match), but then the result is not correct.
    Thanks a lot!

  21. Terry Tewell says:

    I have two workbooks. Workbook "A" has been completed and now contains questions and the responses of the Interviewee. Workbook "B" contains a number of additional cells which are the bases of the final report to management. I constructed "VLOOKUP" code to pull questions entered in Workbook "A" and pace them in the appropriate column in Workbook "B". What I want is this to happen only once when Workbook "B" is opened. Can I do this using just formulas or do I need to use VBA code?

  22. Tim says:

    When I type in a vlookup formula, the cell shows the formula not the result?

    What am I doing wrong here?

  23. Afzaal says:

    My query:
    I have two column A & B each had got 10000 entries , A is original and B is typed in. I want to find error in B by comparing both column A & B
    Entries e.g. 1-721-95-43
    Please reply with result oriented solution

  24. dhanuskodi says:

    My Query

    I have 12 sheets in a work book. I wanted to consolidate all the entries in all the work sheet in one sheet through vlookup.

    Please reply with result.



  25. NISHIT SHAH says:

    How can I use vlookup formula using with OR function?
    I have more than 40000 line items from which I have to match the data using vlookup and in some cases cells having error eventhough the data is lying in main table.

    Pls help me.
    CA Nishit Shah

  26. Roy says:


    I have a problem.

    I have two work books. One shows part no and price in different columns. Another work book where I prepare quotations. Is there any formula, so that when I enter the part no in the quotation work sheet, price will be automatically come in the price column of the quotation work sheet

  27. atul tripathi says:

    how to use vlookup for sheet 1 to worksheet same row with one colom.

  28. Data Moses says:

    Hi, I have this problem

    Pers # Surname FullNames Job Titles
    k15126 Abure Data Moses Security Officer

    in another sheet2 i have

    Pers # Surname FullNames Job Title Start Date

    k15126 Abure Data Moses Security Officer 2015-10-02

    I want to vlookup start dates in sheet 2 to include in sheet1 to match their pers # Surname FullName and Jobe Titles


  29. Jemi says:


    May i know how to lock vlooklup target to different workbook.

    Example:Its alwasy lock to Numbers.xlsx

    • Hi Jemi,

      Simply change the workbook name [Numbers.xlsx] and the sheet name Sheet2! to different names. If you do Vlookup within the same sheet, you don't need to specify either the workbook or worksheet name.

      • Jemi says:

        Hi Svetlana,

        Thank you for you replay.There is 2 different Workbook.

        Here the condition in Workbook1

        Workbook2: ECA_partlist.xlsx, There is 2 tab sheet in this book name 'PartList' & ' vlookup'

        The situation is,the condition will auto add path if the ECA_partslist.xlsx open in different location with Workbook1 for example:
        =VLOOKUP(M7,'Z:\Project\SO201504081701 Willowglen\[ECA_partslist.xlsx]vlookup'!A1:AF15,2,FALSE)

        • Jemi says:

          I add abit here,

          Its happend when I save the Workbook1 in different location with Workbook 2(ECA_partlist.xlsx. Not only the vlookoup path effected but 'Name Manager' refer to also will add the path.

  30. Mzee says:

    I have two values Male and female. I want to create a fomular that adds either of them. Say everytime I add M, it aggregates it to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 to nth value. can someone help.

    Thank you.

  31. Matt says:

    I have two Workbooks that I need combined. On the first workbook (Workbook 1) I pull data from a website that has about 500 names in Column A (along with other data corresponding to the person in the row). I have another Workbook (Workbook 2) that I have different comments (Column E) on the person in Column A. Am I able to pull the new data for Workbook 1 and add the comments from my old Workbook 2 to the first blank Column (Column I)? Every time I pull the new info on Workbook 1 some of the names change so I can't just cut and paste the entire column.

  32. peter li says:

    Clear, step by step and with examples. An excellent tutorial!

  33. Sai says:

    Hi Svetlana,

    In excel , I have selected a cell(b1) and made it a dropdown list.
    Also i have created a table(Table2) AT Sheet1!$H$6:$J$8 -> This table contains information like type(H) tool(I) and version(J).
    Note that version column contains dropdown list mentioning version no.s present.
    Also note that the list in b1 is pointing to table_column(H) (eg. by using data validation src=table2)

    Now my requirement is when i select a value at b1 from the list, then a new Field has to be entered in a2 with the values of the table_columns (I & J)

    • Sai says:

      I have got partial answer by using =VLOOKUP(B1,Table2,3,0), but as i said its not giving the drop down list in a2 its just giving the value same as in table.. I want drop down list in a2 by the above formula

  34. Imran says:


    I have two sheets one sheet has entire data with values & another sheet has selected items which doesn't have any values. i want put the values which selected items.

    For Example:If clothes value is $ 10 in existing sheet. and selected items felter with clothes and i want to put the value 10. how can i do this by using vlookup or any other formula?

  35. lerica says:


  36. lerica says:

    Lots of learning while reading the Q & A.. *clap*

  37. ashik says:

    thanks man, i was going nuts over this. ur solution helped. just needed to click false on range lookup

  38. kupci says:

    Awesome! I think this should be added to your page on troubleshooting why the VLOOKUP doesn't work. Can't believe they set the default to approximate match.


  39. chuck says:

    My spreadsheet has a field containing a drop-down list for Part category. In the field next to it, I have a drop-down list for SubCategory. When I select a sepecific Part category, I would like the SubCategory pull-down list to ONLY contain the pertinent subcategories for the Part Category selected, not everything in the SubCategory list. My SubCategory tab containing the items for the drop-down list holds the Subcategories in one column, and the Category to which the SubCategory is pertinent in the adjacent column.
    What is the best way to have ONLY the Subcategories for a specific Part Category to be displayed in the SubCategory drop-down list without having to make a separate set of lists for each part category?

    • Hello Chuck,
      When creating a drop-down list for the SubCategories, go to Data -> Data Validation, select List and instead of entering the list name in the "Source" field, use the INDIRECT function to reference the value in the cell with the Part Category, e.g.:
      You will need to have named ranges for categories and subcategories. The name of the range with Subcategories must coincide with the value selected as the part category. E.g. If you select "Subcategory1" as your Part category in cell H2, then you'll get the "Subcategory1" drop-down list in I2. If this doesn't help, please send a test spreadsheet to support@ablebits.com, we'll do our best to assist you.

  40. Mary says:

    Thanks very helpful lession

  41. Moin Khan says:

    No doubt your site is very helpful, especially for beginners like me.

  42. sameer says:

    hello excel i am working in a school i have to maintain daily register of cash collection and total amount is to be divided into different heads like tution fee exam fee bus fee i want that formula that itself divide that amount into different heads of different class

  43. Jo says:

    Hi, what should I should I input if the look_up value is a text. Thanks

  44. Pravin says:

    I ve this formula =VLOOKUP(D7,INDIRECT(""&G9&"!B7:AL32"),2,0). I want add hyperlink in this formula as a vlookup result how?

  45. Anil says:

    have two columns in a single work sheet and I want to use VLOOKUP formula (I do not want to use MATCH Formula) to compare these two columns each other and get an output of Matching Items.

    1202 16003
    1206 16010
    16003 21307EXQW33
    16010 21307EXQW33C3
    21307EXQW33 1202
    21307EXQW33C3 1206
    22206EXW33 22210EXQW33
    22210EXQW33 22215EXW33KC3
    22215EXW33KC3 22206EXW33

    I want to get :
    1> Compare and give teh matching output.

    • Hello Anil,
      You can use VLOOKUP formula, e.g. =VLOOKUP(A2,$B$2:$B$11,1,FALSE), but it will simply display the value if it occurs in your lookup column.

      If your task is to see whether or not value in column A is repeated in column B, you can use the following formula:

      I hope this helps.

  46. hanmant says:

    how did four sheet use a Vlookup why Formulas

  47. Monika says:

    Why while using vlookup function #NA# results if the value does exist

  48. jerry says:

    In doing the vlookup here is my fomula,=IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(D2,F2:F80833, 1, FALSE)),FALSE,TRUE) and I am trying to repeat the formula where D2 changes on the next cell to D3 and so forth to D92563 but I do not want the second portion of my formula F2:F80833 to change. I cannot click and drag because it will change the 2nd portion of my formula to match. What do I do to copy portions of the formula?

  49. Stephen says:


    I'm using the lookup function and it's behaving oddly: it won't find any text string in one column that starts with P to Z. I have no idea about this! Thanks!

  50. Sanju says:

    What is the formula to compare the exact numbers in two sheets.
    I would like to compare the data in two sheets and find out a exact matches / numbers.
    Eg: In Sheet1 : Column A: 2352,25897,25666,29981
    In Sheet2 : Column A: 29981,23514,2352,25555,25369


  51. Waseem Ahmed says:

    Main Table: Bill of matrial 1

    Colorants Green Orange Maroon Colorants Green
    Lemon Yellow 80.00 75.00 Lemon Yellow 68.00
    Ochre Ochre -
    Bright Red 25.00 60.00 Bright Red -
    Brick Red 20.00 Brick Red -
    Sky Blue Sky Blue -
    Navy Blue 20.00 20.00 Navy Blue 17.00
    TOTAL: 100.00 100.00 00.00 TOTAL: 85.00
    We have generated "Bill of material 1" from Main Table. In Table "Bill of material 1" we do not need zero value or blank cell. Instead we want Table to show initial three rows with data.
    In this we apply formula:
    Kindly help to update formula.

  52. Waseem Ahmed says:

    This text area does not support formatted Excel data. Please improve to explain question properly.
    Kind regards,

  53. Simon NG says:

    I have been learning excel from the internet and this is best website on he subject!

  54. Anthony Chua says:

    I just found out that sometimes when looking for EXACT match, and the cell is a number, there could be some rounding off errors. Then #N/A is shown even though the table shows that there is a match.

  55. Brandon says:

    Holy crap! I just had to say thank you for the =VLOOKUP("*"&A1677&"*",'QEP BOLO CONTRACTS'!$B:$T,3,FALSE) formula!

    The "*"&A1677&"*" Saved my spreadsheet!

  56. Brian Browne says:

    What does this mean? Why the 1+ Many thnks

  57. sepedi says:

    hi i was in an interview yesterday and i couldnt even do vlookup and pivo table can u please help me

  58. shri says:

    please tall me , How to work in two book .
    I need a
    I doing some work in book 1
    like a
    123 - shri - India - lovely person
    and I am open new book (book-2)
    when tipping 123 and a take all information of Shri

    plz help me

  59. Eric Mendes says:

    Hi All ,

    I am facing a serious problem as per below , would you mind to assist please ?

    Sheet1 ( called Physical consumption) has four columns : Date , job number , Part Number Quantity Representative

    Sheet 2 ( called system consumption) as lot of columns , but below are the most important I am working with :
    Date , part Number reference

    The problem is : I want to use a formala that helps me to add on the last column on sheet1 that pick up the refence number in column 2 and had it to a specific part number on the same date as the sheet 2 .

    Thanks for your assistance

  60. Moe says:

    Dear Svetlana and Irina,

    Can you please explain why vlookup does not work when it is used to get data from a named range in an external workbook ?

  61. jayanti velani says:

    please can you help me with a formula
    i have 3 columns a,b,c
    a column have 300 products codes
    b column have 50 products codes these codes appear also in column a
    c column have prices for product codes in column b

    i need to insert a column next to column a and want all the prices from column c that matches the product code from column b to a anything that does not
    match a blank cell should come up

  62. sangita says:

    how can i do a vlookup in the same sheet

  63. Sunil Tripathi says:

    i have sheet wherein 10 site has sold same 10 article .. how do get the data from that sheet . which formula should i use to get the data.

  64. Sunil Tripathi says:

    Row Labels Article Article Description Sum of Qty in Un. of Entry Sum of Sales Value inc. VAT
    3478 108007941 CLMT UTENSIL BAR 200G -4 -60
    3497 108007941 CLMT UTENSIL BAR 200G -7 -105
    3503 108007941 CLMT UTENSIL BAR 200G -2 -30
    3506 108007941 CLMT UTENSIL BAR 200G -8 -120
    3530 108007941 CLMT UTENSIL BAR 200G -2 -30
    3532 108007941 CLMT UTENSIL BAR 200G -2 -30
    3550 108007941 CLMT UTENSIL BAR 200G -1 -15

  65. Diana says:

    Thank you for this! It was very helpful and easy to understand!

  66. Kuria says:

    Hi Svetlana Cheusheva,

    I have a file with more than 20 sheets (Departments) and a major file where the rest of the sheet get the data from. I have use a simple way of getting the data from the main file by typing =sign and the the main sheet and last the cell that contains the data i want to appear in departments. This was working well untill i realized after i sort the data in the main file, the departments data get messed up coz am referring to a cell but not the content in it. Is there a formula i can use in a way that if is edit the main file, the changes are reflected in the departments file?

  67. Muhammad Zaheer says:

    First of all thanks for nice and very useful information sharing.

    I want to make database for my shop. In which I want to make one "Inventory" sheet second "Stock in" sheet third "Stock out" sheet. Now question is that how inventory sheet automatically update with transaction from both stock in and stock out sheet. for example I have 5 Energy savers in my inventory. I add 2 more and sold 3 then the inventory sheet automatically update as(5+2-3=) 4 energy saver in stock.

    Thanks in advance.

  68. Sunday says:

    I have the following problem that I d not have idea how to create the formula in Vlookup.
    Create a vlookup which will populate the list of projects to be selected based on the following criteria
    1. Budget of $4,000,000
    2. Populate the Include column to indicate what projects should be selected, based on the project in each region with the highest NPV while staying below the total budget constraint

    Region Project Cost NPV Include
    Europe 1 $1,200,000 $172,036
    Europe 2 $2,000,000 $362,283
    Europe 3 $500,000 $147,487
    Asia 4 $600,000 $72,076
    Asia 5 $700,000 $129.35
    Asia 6 $3,000,000 $527,127
    Asia 7 $1,500,000 $343,632
    Africa 8 $200,000 $52,836
    Africa 9 $2,400,000 $275,936
    Africa 10 $1,000,000 $175,824
    Constraint 4,000,000

  69. sathish says:

    Private Sub Program4()
    Dim LastRow As Long
    Dim LastColumn As Long
    Dim i As Integer
    Dim j As Integer
    LastRow = Sheets("Sheet1").Cells(Rows.Count, 1).End(xlUp).Row
    LastColumn = Sheets("Sheet1").Cells(1, Columns.Count).End(xlToLeft).Column
    For i = 2 To LastRow
    For j = 1 To LastColumn
    Sheets("Sheet2").Cells(i, 2) = Application.VLookup(Sheets("Sheet2").Cells(i, 1), Sheets("Sheet1").Range("A2:D7"), Sheets("Sheet1").Cells(i, 4), False)
    Next j
    Next i
    End Sub
    Above example i have an error..What that error is?
    Task is:using two variables and lastrow and lastcolumn by using for loop in vlookup..
    task:Sheet1 Sheet2
    Id Name Salary Dep Id Dep

  70. Egypt says:

    Thank you so much!!!
    extremely helpful

  71. anu says:


    I m facing some problem to apply matching formula in worksheet...
    may u help me,,,,,

  72. Tom says:

    I need to compare to columns and highlight cells in column A when a match is not found in column B.

    I am using Excel 2010. Do you have an example that will work to accomplish this. I will also need to compare the columns in reverse. Highlighting in column B and cells not found in column A.

  73. nani says:

    I need to compare two work books in that one sheet have number of same site id's in column 'A' but description is different then how can i do that,it shows the wrong data why because same id's repeated that's why it shows the wrong data.

  74. sadiq says:

    a b c d g
    49314 Watch 49314 WT00009303
    49314 Watch WT00009303
    49314 Watch WT00009303
    49394 Watch 49314 WT00009303

    vlookup a & c and pick d in g

  75. jackie says:

    suppose i have list of data in different worksheets sheet 1, sheet 2, sheet 3, sheet 1 consists of data up to 1-100 sr. no. sheet 2 101-200 sr. no. and sheet 3 up to 201-300 how can i lookup all at once using vlookup i shows me value error when i trying to select all data from all worksheets

  76. Sir Peter says:

    I can do vlookup now. thank so much for the simple explanation.

    This is very helpful.

  77. Khurram says:

    I appreciate your site.it is very informative.
    In above formula I want col_name in stead of col_index.

    With best regards

  78. Md.Abdul Momin says:

    How to do work vlookup From another excel sheet1 & sheet 2

  79. Myra says:

    I am trying to add amounts from one column AB, if in column L there is text that contains (G).

    How do I write this formula?
    The (G) is not always written in the same exact place. It can be in the front of a sentence, middle, or end.

    So basically need if:
    Column L has (G) then add the amount from column AB.

    and the (G) is written this exact way, so its throwing me off on how to write the formula since it also has parentheses.


  80. Lynn says:

    I created an Excel spreadsheet that used VLOOKUP formulas, with version 2007. I wanted to update it, so I recreated it by copying it to my Excel 2013 version. Everything seemed to work fine, except for one item. When I try to insert a row into the database (Sheet 2) and create a new look up item in my inventory, it returns an "NA" response on Sheet 1. I tried to figure it out, and it seems that it may be because of a previous link to the 2007 version that is not there now. I tried to Edit/Delete or Break the link, but it still doesn't work. Can you help please?

  81. Suraiya says:

    what's the function to calculate Unit Number?

  82. Syed says:

    Excellent tutorial, explained each and every steps clearly with good examples.

    I salute you !!!!👍🙏

  83. kishori says:

    How to find out data is in one column but not in other column?

  84. mike says:

    in vlookup what if there's two or more same data in column of table array?

  85. SANA says:


  86. Rajesh K P says:

    Hello Team,

    is there any formula to pull 2 different name from 2 same code?

    for exp:-

    125 - jack
    126 -Jorge
    125 -Rick

    now i have 2 code and i want 2 different name

    125 - required (jack)
    125 - required (Rick)

  87. Adiwal says:

    (is it possible that i can sum amount of multiple cell by search of single name).

  88. Ermest Fernandez says:

    Worth reading.

  89. Hrender Singh Butola says:


  90. HAKM says:


  91. HAKM says:


  92. josh says:

    item number shoe type price
    583 kitten heel $57.00
    612 mules $40.00
    471 platforms $30.00
    982 pumps $45.00
    773 sandals $37.00
    156 slingbacks $48.00
    229 stacked heel $70.00
    312 stiletto $85.00
    823 wedge $35.00

    lookup value for kitten heel:
    lookup price for item number823:
    lookup shoe type for item number 471:

    how can i find the formula for each of this problems

  93. TOM says:

    A B C
    name age seating
    ishan 33 balcony
    behoora 34 floor
    Adam 51 podium
    smith 42 balcony

    I J
    name seating applicable
    Adam podium
    ishan balcony
    greg #N/A


  94. maqsood says:

    you are really cute.

  95. Hamid hamedie says:

    Thanks too match it is very useful for my

  96. Hamid hamedie says:

    You are the best one in word

  97. onyenezi austin says:

    i love your write but i have no knowledge of vlookup at all. so i find it difficult to understand it. please help me to understand this by sending me more write up on this please. thank you.

  98. Lisa H says:

    Hi I am using a Vlookup and it is returning formula however I now want to do a vlookup against the first vlookup I did, I have done this but a very long time ago and cannot remember, I basically need to use the value from the first lookup to drive another look up.


  99. Lisa H says:

    These are the looks up I tried

    No 1 =(VLOOKUP(C14,'Data '!A:B,2,FALSE)) - this returns what I want

    No 2 =IFERROR(VLOOKUP(D14,'Score sheet'!A3:B103,2,FALSE),"") - This doesn't return what I need.


  100. Lisa H says:

    I need no 2 to look up against what has been returned in look up no 1

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