How To Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet?

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There are many Functions available in Microsoft Excel. There are Functions, combination of Functions, more than what we can think of. When we are looking for a Function to lookup and retrieve data within a Table, this is where the VLOOKUP function appears. The V, stands for vertical, meaning that the Data in the Table must be arranged vertically, with Data in Rows. We use the VLOOKUP Functions when we are in need to find things in a Table or a Range by Row. We can use the VLOOKUP Function when we have a well- organized Table, with all the information arranged Vertically and a Column on the left, which we can use to match a Row. To find out more and to learn how to use the VLOOKUP Function in an Excel Spreadsheet, just keep on reading the post below.

How To Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

In the image below, I have entered Data into a Table. This Table contains information about TV Shows. I have the Rank number of the TV Show among with the Network that has created the TV Show and the percentage of Viewers watching the TV Shows. The Rank of each TV Show depends on the percentage of Viewers. Say, now that we want to find out the Title of the Show ranked in the 55th Rank in our Table. Below, with the help of the VLOOKUP Function the procedure is quite simple and will be described thoroughly.

Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

In the image below, I have selected the Formulas tab, and then from the Function Library area of the ribbon, I have selected the Lookup & Reference Category as shown. Once the Lookup & Reference category is selected the drop-down menu appears with all the available Functions, where I select for my example the Function VLOOKUP.

What does the VLOOKUP Function do? It Looks For A Value In The Leftmost Column Of A Table, And Then Returns A Value In The Same Row From A Column We Specify. By Default, The Table Must Be Sorted In An Ascending Order.

Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Once the VLOOKUP Function is selected, the Function Arguments dialog box appears as shown in the image below:

The VLOOKUP Function is separated in the following arguments:

  • Lookup_value: Is the value to be found in the first column of the table, and can be a value, a reference, or a text string. In other words, What We Are Looking For.
  • Table_array: Is a table of text, numbers or logical values, in which data is retrieved. Table_array can be a reference to a range or a range name. In other words, Where To Find It.
  • Col_index_num: Is the column number in the table_array from which the matching value should be returned. The first column of values in the table is the column 1. In other words, What To Return.
  • Range_lookup: Is a logical value: to find the closest match in the first column (sorted in ascending order) = TRUE or omitted; find an exact match = FALSE

Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

In the next image in the VLOOKUP Functions Argument dialog box, my arguments are the following:

  • Lookup_value: I am looking for the data in the Cell G1, in this case the number 55 in the Rank category.
  • Table_array: I am looking in the whole Table which is named TOP_100_SHOWS_OF_2018_2019__TOTAL_VIEWERS, for the data to be retrieved.
  • Col_index_num: I want the result to be drawn from Column 2, which in this case is the Title of the Show.
  • Range_lookup: TRUE To find the closest match.

Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Once we have filled in all the Arguments, we just press the Ok button, located at the bottom right corner of the Function Arguments and see the results. In the image, according to our Arguments, the result is that the Title of the Show is Life in Pieces, which is in the 55th place of Viewers and it is drawn from Column 2. If we double click on the Function in the actual Cell, we can see the whole Function in the Formula Bar as shown in the image below.

Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

In the next image in the VLOOKUP Functions Argument dialog box, my arguments are the following:

  • Lookup_value: I am looking for the data in the Cell G4, in this case the number 10300 in the Viewers Category.
  • Table_array: I am looking in the whole Table which is named TOP_100_SHOWS_OF_2018_2019__TOTAL_VIEWERS, for the data to be retrieved.
  • Col_index_num: I want the result to be drawn from Column 3, which in this case is the Network of the Show.
  • Range_lookup: Ommited To find the closest match.

Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Once we have filled in all the Arguments, we just press the Ok button, located at the bottom right corner of the Function Arguments and see the results. In the image, according to our Arguments, the result is that the Network of the Show is Fox, which the Viewers are 10300 and it is drawn from Column 3. If we double click on the Function in the actual Cell, we can see the whole Function in the Formula Bar as shown in the image below.

Use The VLOOKUP Function in a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

Below you can check out the video describing How To Use The VLOOKUP Function in Microsoft Excel?

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