vlookup formula in excel, vlookup formula logic with example

vlookup is a formula in excel, commonly used to retrieve data form one table to another table.

In this article, we will provide complete information about vlookup formula.

Why vlookup in excel? vlookup function

Suppose you are in a condition, where you need some information on table “A” from table “B”

For example, in below tables, Table A have column “Name”, “Age”& “Salary” and table B have “Name”, “Age”& “Project”.

So to copy "project" column of employees given in “Table B”, we can use vlooup formula or vlookup function.

vlookup function in excel

vlookup function in excel

vlookup formula Logic

We need to first understand the logic of vlookup function then we can jump to calculation part.

Vlookup function have four parameters, it is very important to understand these parameters before using it.

    1. lookup_value
    2. table_array
    3. col_index_num
    4. Range_lookup

vlookup function in excel

lookup_value :

It defines the identifier cell number. Identifier cell number is a common column present in both table and it is used to compare the tables.

To start with we lookup, first we need to identify “primary key”/”identifier” column which is present in both tables.

Here our identifier is column “Name” because it is present in both table(This is termed as lookup_value in formula)

As we have already identified Column “Name” as identifier hence cell “A3” from “Table A” will be a lookup value.

table_array  :

This parameter defines range of the table from where data needs to be copied.

vlookup function in excel


Here we need to select entire "table B" in order to get results.

Note: Selection only needs to be started from “identifier column” to result column.

col_index_number :

This parameter defines position of column from where you need to retrieve data. In below example, column "project" is in 3rd position hence the value will be”3″.

range_lookup :

Range lookup defines if matching should be exact or Approx.

You can write “True/False” or “0/1” to get result where 0 defines “Exact match” and “1” defines “approx match”.

We will use “Exact match” here for accurate result. (Recommended)

Now we are ready with in vlookup function  "=VLOOKUP(A3,J3:L7,1,0)"

Note: all parameters needs to be separated by “,”


vlookup function in excel

Now can now simply drag this formula to other rows and then you are ready with your data.


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