Yesterday I wrote about the Text Functions in Microsoft Excel, and many of you contacted me for training on the Text and other useful Functions in Excel. Most of the people want to learn the Lookup functions in Excel – namely the Vlookup, Hlookup, and the Lookup functions.
The lookup functions in Excel have been there since the first version of Microsoft Excel, and have stayed the same throughout. They have been the reason for people to learn and train on how to use Excel effectively.
I have seen that there are usually one or two people in the company who know how to use the Vlookup function. And they are revered for it. Others go to them for Excel sage advice. And if you ask them to teach you about the Vlookup function, they claim that it is too difficult for you to learn, and that you’d be better off if you just let them code it out for you. This way they retain their sole control over the Excel users as the Guru, and they try to be indispensable by this virtue.
Well, today, you can learn about the Vlookup function in no time. In our 2 or 3 day Advanced Excel classes in Singapore, we teach how to use the Lookup functions in Excel, what are the variations, when to use which type of function, and even the limitations of the Lookup functions in Excel… Yes, the Lookup functions that we all love to use also has limitation. It can’t be used all the time.
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Vlookup Function in Excel: This function can be used to pick the price, description, etc. for any part or the employee’s name, address, basic pay etc. if you key in the product code, or the employee code. The function basically will match the value in the first column, and lookup the relevant column from the lookup table, and present it to you.
This is extremely useful, as we can write a dynamic formula, which picks up the relevant value based on any key.
Variations of Vlookup Function in Excel
The lookup function can be used to match up an exact value, or an approximate value. Both of these variations can save you immense time and are extremely quick to use.
The syntax of the Vlookup formula is VLOOKUP(what to lookup, Where to lookup, Which column to pick, approximate match or exact match)
With these 4 options specified, the vlookup formula can be your secret weapon, your swiss army knife that gives you the edge in the workforce and makes you invincible!
Let’s say we have a table of employee numbers, and their names. Upon matching the employee number, I want to pick up the employee name. How can Vlookup do this
Employee Id Employee Name
123 John Smith
456 Rebecca Tan
789 Robert Lim
To pick up the name of the employee upon submitting the name, we can write
=Vlookup(456, A1:B3, 2, 0)
This means that we want to lookup the id of 456 in the lookup table beginning from row A1 to Column B3. Once matched, we want to pick up the second column, which is the name. And yes, we only want the name if the ID matches exactly.
Once you write this formula, the name of Rebecca Tan will popup up immediately. And if you substitute 456 with 789, the name will change to Robert Lim.
It is that simple…
Learn to Use Lookup Functions in Excel
If you would like to learn more about the Lookup Functions in Excel, or to learn about Text Functions in Excel, or more advanced stuff, you can attend our 3 day program, which attracts Government grants (for compnay sponsored candidates), and leads to the industry certification of (ICDL Certificate in Advanced Spreadsheets) from ICDL Asia.
Arrange for In-House Training for Microsoft Excel Lookup Functions
Most companies arrange for a in-house training on Excel or Photoshop certification training to train their entire staff in batches of 15-20 employees per batch. This is an excellent option to improve employee retention, increase their efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.
Learn about the Corporate Training options, and get attractive discounts and grants when you arrange a corporate training at your office or at our training centre.
In the next article, I’ll talk about the date and time functions within Excel 2013. Till then… All the Best!
Founder & CEO, Intellisoft Training Pte Ltd