How to use VLOOKUP in Excel

How to Use vlookup in Excel

In this article, we will cover VLookup. To follow along with us make sure you have a copy of this file downloaded using the button below. There are three worksheets, “See it”, “Do it”, and “Data”. “See it” is where I will demonstrate, “Do it” is where you will practice, and “Data” is where our data is living for us to look up the values. 

How to use vlookup in excel

Let’s begin! Before we do anything let me explain what VLookup is and how does VLookup works. VLookup is a great function that will help you to look for certain values in any given range of excel. For example, we can pick up value, go look for that value in a certain table and bring in adjacent column values. 

Excel Database Free Download

In case you need some data to practice more with the functions in Excel, feel free to download the Free Excel Database .xlsx file using the button below:

How to put vlookup in excel

VLookup takes four arguments:

How to use VLOOKUP in Excel
how to use lookup in excel
  • The first one is what is that you want Excel to look for? 
  • Second, where do you want Excel to look for that value? 
  • Third, what should be returned if the value is found? 
  • And, finally, should it be exact or an approximate match? 

How to apply vlookup in excel

Let us take a close look. We want a department name for all these employees [see the attached workbook for data]. All those employees have come from the datasheet of the workbook used in the demonstration. So let me go to the “See it” sheet and hold my position in B2 cell and, start typing in VLookup. As soon as we see the function press TAB on the keyboard to complete that function. Now, we want Excel to look for value in A2. Where does excel look for that value? Which table? Let us navigate to the “Data” sheet and click on the first column A and holding the left key of your mouse down, drag it across till the department column. So from the First Column till the last column in our selection what’s the column number A-B-C-D-E? That’s the fifth column; so we want Excel to return the fifth column value if the value is found within the First Column. We want it to be the exact match, so I enter ‘0’ and close the bracket and press enter on my keyboard. Our vLookup function will look as follows.

=VLOOKUP(A2, Data!A:E, 5, 0)
how to use vlookup

As soon as we press enter you should see the department name fetched. To find the department names of other employee IDs, all we have to do is drag the function down using the drag handle on the lower right side. 

How to use VLookup formula – Video Demonstration

How to Use VLOOKUP in Excel video tutorial will give you a video walkthrough on how to use vLookup.

how to use lookup in excel

Click on the following button to download the file used in the demo to practice along with us.

Excel Learning Series – TOC

  1. Excel 2016 – Basics – Find Sum, Average, Min and Max
  2. Excel 2016 Difference Between Formulas and Functions
  3. Excel 2016 Copy Formulas or Functions
  4. Microsoft Excel Auto Fill
  5. Excel 2016 Manage Views using Freeze Panes
  6. Microsoft Excel – Saving Workbooks
  7. Excel Upper and Lower Text Functions
  8. Excel 2016 – Text Function – Proper
  9. Excel Text Functions – Trim Function
  10. Excel – Text Function Left Function
  11. Excel Text Function – Right Function
  12. Excel Text Functions – MID Function
  13. Excel Concatenate Text Function
  14. Excel Nested Functions
  15. Excel Search Function
  16. Excel – Calculate Age using Date Function Today
  17. Calculate Tenure in Excel with Days Function
  18. Autofill Dates in Excel
  19. Formatting Dates in Excel
  20. Excel Date Format Shortcut
  21. Calculating Sum of Time in Excel
  22. Calculate Expiry Date in Excel 2016 – EDATE
  23. Find Age or Tenure using DATEDIF in Excel 2016
  24. RandBetween – Generate Random Dates in Excel 2016
  25. Excel Weekday Function
  26. Excel WeekNum and ISOWeekNum Functions
  27. Excel Networkdays and Excel Networkdays.INTL
  28. Excel Workday and Workdays INTL Functions
  30. Calculate Time Difference in Excel
  31. Calculate Quarter in Excel
  32. Rounding Day, Hour and Minutes in Excel
  33. Excel Pay Rate and Downtime Cost Calculation
  34. Excel Logical Functions IF, AND, OR
  35. Calculate Bonus in Excel Using IF Function
  36. Excel Learning – SumIF and SumIFS
  37. How to use Excel Count Functions
  38. How to use VLOOKUP in Excel
  39. How to vLookup in a different workbook in Excel
  40. VLookup for Multiple Sheets with Example
  41. Excel Custom Quarters
  42. Vlookup Return Custom Value

We hope you find this article useful. In case you are stuck and or need help, feel free to drop a comment below or submit your question. Do share it further and add your feedback about the article in the comments section.

Conclusion – How VLookup Works

We want you to practice as much as you can in order to retain the learning. Go to the “Do it” sheet and try to find out the values for first name, last name, full name, Department, Start Date, and Country. Use the Employee ID as the key and lookup inside “Datasheet”. Make sure that you practice as much as you can. In the next episode, we will cover more dimensions of VLookup. This was how to do VLookup in the same workbook, in the same worksheet. But how do we do it from different workbooks, from different worksheets? 

About Syed Hussaini

I am a Support Specialist with 15+ Years of experience and exposure in Training, website development on WordPress, Joomla, and Google Sites, Customer Support, IT Operations, Team Management, Knowledge Management. My engagement in a corporate environment and freelance projects has taught me to be highly productive and independent.

2 Responses

  1. Okay gotta say it, that is maybe the best description of what the vlookup parameters actually are. I have no idea why the official documentation can’t just say things like “this is what I am looking for”. As if any average person knows what a “key” or “lookup” is.


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