Wednesday, January 4, 2012

VLOOKUP - Just Like looking a Number Up In a Telephone Book

This is one of the following two articles on VLOOKUP in Excel

VLOOKUP - Just Like Looking Up a Number in a Telephone Book

VLOOKUP To Look Up a Discount in a Distant Database

 

VLOOKUP - Just Like

Looking a Number Up In a

Telephone Book

Using VLOOKUP is just like looking a number up in a telephone book. You first find the name and then find the telephone number on the same row as the name, but in a column to the right of the name.

First, a Few Basics About VLOOKUP

VLOOKUP works inside an Excel table. You specify a value occurring in a cell in the leftmost column (in this example, a person's name in the left column of a telephone book page) and VLOOKUP finds an associated piece of data to the right of that value (in this case, the telephone number directly to the right of that name).
The VLOOKUP function has 4 inputs and follows this format:

VLOOKUP
( Lookup_value, Table_array, Col_Index_num, Range_lookup )



Each of these 4 inputs can be explained as follows:


Lookup_value: The value to be found in the 1st (leftmost) column of the table. In the telephone look-up example below, the Lookup_value would reference the name to be initially looked up. As soon as you open up the telephone book, you look up the name first. That is the Lookup_value for our example below.

Table_array: Location of the table.

Col_Index_num: The column number of the table from which VLOOKUP will return the value. In the telephone look-up example below, Col_Index_num would be the number of the column which holds the telephone number that VLOOKUP is locating. Since our data table only has 2 columns of data, the telephone number would be in the 2nd (rightmost) column.

Range_lookup: FALSE if requiring an exact match in 1st column, TRUE or omitted if requiring a similar value in the 1st column. When looking up a specific item, such as a telephone number, an exact match is usually required and the Range_lookup will be set to FALSE in this case.

Let's go right into our example which shows VLOOKUP being used to look up a telephone number, just as you would do in a telephone book.


Using VLOOKUP to Locate a Telephone Number

Below is the spreadsheet representing a page of a telephone book. VLOOKUP looks up the telephone number in the same way that you would: locate the name and then look to the correct column on the right to get the telephone number.

In this case, VLOOKUP is locating the telephone number of Andre Johnson. The two equivalent VLOOKUP commands used below produce the same correct result (760-4829). The only difference between the two commands is how each looks up Andre Johnson's name.

The first VLOOKUP command looks up cell A4, which contains Andre Johnson's name. The second VLOOKUP command searches for "Andre Johnson" in the first (leftmost) column of the table.

Using VLOOKUP in Excel Is Just

Like Looking Up a Telephone

Number In a Phone Book


Note in the Telephone Book Lookup example above that the two VLOOKUP commands located the same telephone number (760-4829):


=VLOOKUP(A4,A2:B5,2,FALSE)

=VLOOKUP("Andre Johnson",A2:B5,2,FALSE)

Here is an explanation of the inputs for the VLOOKUP command as they pertain to this example:

Lookup_value: The value to be found in the 1st (leftmost) column of the table. We are looking up the value “Andre Johnson” in cell A4.

Table_array: Location of the table. The table is located between cells A2 and B5.

Col_Index_num: The column number of the table from which VLOOKUP will return the value. VLOOKUP will locate the telephone number in column 2 directly to the right of “Andre Johnson” in cell A4.

Range_lookup: FALSE if requiring an exact match in 1st column, TRUE or omitted if requiring a similar value in the 1st column. We do require an exact match of “Andre Johnson” in the 1st column so we set Range_lookup to FALSE.

VLOOKUP works just like looking a phone number in the phone book. Locate the name first, and then the phone number to the right in a specified column, on the same row as the name.
In fact, the telephone lookup is probably the simplest and most intuitive use of VLOOKUP. Let’s provide an example of using VLOOKUP to do exactly that.

 

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1 comment:

  1. That's a very nice metaphor you used for explaining the VLOOKUP function

    ReplyDelete