What Does Vlookup Do In Excel?

This article and associated youtube video will explain what vlookup does and the best way to organise your spreadsheet data to the get most out of vlookup and how to use it to join two datasets together.

Vlookup allows you to get extra information from another data range by using a unique identifer that populates the first column of the data range that your are looking up.

vlookup arguments explained

For example the first column (Key Field) of that looked up data range could contain EmployeeID’s or Social Security Numbers or Car Registration numbers.

You could have a form (using vba macros) that fills out extra information on these factors based on the above mentioned “Key Field”.

You can also use vlookup to populate extra columns of information into a large table of data, provided there are common columns in both data ranges.

Get the spreadsheet from this YouTube example

Examples of this could be a City and County columns for a given post code, the work you are doing might have various postcodes and you could possibly have a large spreadsheet mapping postcodes to cities and counties.

Maybe just the first three characters of the postcode to keep your data tables managable in size, if you get my drift.

How To Best Use Vlookup

First it helps to ensure that your data is organised in a "database" format, that is to say it is laid out as rows and columnns (preferably with column headers).

If each row represents an information item such as all the data for a particular person and each column (field) represents a subset of that information such as "Firstname", "LastName" and "TelephoneNumber".

Then in the above situation you may have an unique id for each person record such as a customer id, this "customer id" would be the first column of your lookup table.

If your Excel spreadsheet also had a report with just sales information by customerID, you could then get more information on the customers by linking your sales report to your customers table using a vlookup.

Check out the embedded youtube video for a step by step walk vlookup example.

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