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September 10, 2009 @ 10:47 pm
posted by Chris

What is Vlookup?

Vlookup is a function in excel that allows you to search, what I would call a mapping table, and then place the corresponding value in the table in the cell with the vlookup function.

Let’s go through an example.

At the top you can see the mapping table. So for every BMW the colour will be “red”, every Ford “Black” and so on.

Below the mapping table, is my list of raw data. It originally on had names and the cars that they drive. But I want to now add the colour for every car that they drive. Rather than manually looking up the table myself and entering the colour for each type of car, I’m going to use the vlookup function, and place it in the grey cells.
Vlookup Results of example

What is the formula doing?

The formula in vlookup is broken up into the follow components.
Example: =VLOOKUP(B12,$A$4:$B$7,2,FALSE)
1. Which cell did I want to find in the mapping table. It is B12
2. Where is my mapping table. Well it’s from A4 to B7. (The dollars signs are placed there so that when I copy and paste the formula down, the reference to the mapping table will always be locked into A4:B7)
3. How many columns to the right of the mapping table did I want to select from. In the example I want to show the second column which contains the colour.
4. False is added, to show that if there is no match, it will be flagged.

For easy simple step by step and simple English explanations, there is a website dedicated to vlookup, call