Excel’s VLOOKUP is a reference function for viewing specific data in a spreadsheet or table. The function searches for a value in the leftmost column of your document, then it returns the value in the row that you specify. To execute a VLOOKUP, you must input your search request to meet the function’s syntax (lookup_value, lookup_table_range, column, exact).
- Select destination and open VLOOKUP formula
Click the cell on your workbook where you want to calculate the VLOOKUP. Then, click the Formula menu at the top of the screen, and select the Lookup & Reference icon on the ribbon. Select the VLOOKUP function located at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
- Input lookup and table array values
Define your lookup_value by entering the cell, range of cells, text or number to define what you are looking for. If you are looking for the name of a specific person, enter the individual’s name or the cell where the name resides. Next, enter the range of cells that you want to search through. If the cells reside on a different tab or worksheet, enter the title and use a an exclamation point (!) to separate the tab or sheet from the cell. For example, (John Smith, SalesData!$A$2:$C$300) is telling Excel to search for the name John Smith in the SalesData table from Cells A2 through C300.
- Input column index and range
Enter the number of the column containing your search value in the col_index_num box. Enter the column’s number within your defined range of cells. If your search value is located within column B, enter 2 in the col_index_num. Next, enter FALSE if you are looking for an exact match or TRUE to find the closest or most appropriate match. Click Submit to return your search value in the cell you selected in the first step.