# Lookup

**HLOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** are functions in Microsoft Excel that allow you to use a section of your spreadsheet as a lookup table.

When the VLOOKUP function is called, Excel searches for a **lookup** value in the leftmost column of a section of your spreadsheet called the table array. The function returns another value in the same row, defined by the column index number.

HLOOKUP is similar to VLOOKUP, but it searches a row instead of a column, and the result is offset by a row index number. The V in VLOOKUP stands for vertical search (in a single column), while the H in HLOOKUP stands for horizontal search (within a single row).

## VLOOKUP example

Let's use the workbook below as an example which has two sheets. The first is called **Data Sheet**. On this sheet, each row contains information about an inventory item. The first column is a part number, and the third column is a price in dollars.

The second sheet is called **Lookup Sheet**, and it contains a formula which uses VLOOKUP to look up data on the Data Sheet. In the screenshot below, notice that cell B2 is selected, and its formula is listed in the formula bar at the top of the sheet.

The value of cell B2 is the formula **=VLOOKUP(A2,'Data Sheet'!$A$2:$C$4,3,FALSE)**.

The above formula will populate the B2 cell with the price of the part identified in cell A2. If the price changes on the Data Sheet, the value of cell B2 on the Lookup Sheet will be updated automatically to match. Similarly, if the part number in cell A2 on the Lookup Sheet changes, cell B2 will automatically update with the price of that part.

Let's look at each element of the example formula in more detail.

Formula Element | Meaning |
---|---|

= |
The equals sign (=) indicates that this cell contains a formula, and the result should become the value of the cell. |

VLOOKUP | The name of the function. |

( | An opening parenthesis indicates that the preceding name VLOOKUP was the name of a function, and indicates the beginning of a comma-separated list arguments to the function. |

A2 | An opening parenthesis indicates that the preceding name VLOOKUP was the name of a function, and indicates the beginning of a comma-separated list of arguments to the function. |

'Data Sheet'!$A$2:$C$4 | The second argument, the The table array argument takes the general form: 'SheetName'!$col1$row1:$col2$row2 The first part of this expression identifies a sheet, and the second part identifies a rectangular area on that sheet. Specifically: *SheetName*is the name of the sheet where the table array (search area) is located. It should be enclosed in single quotes (**' '**) and followed by an exclamation mark (**!**). A sheet identifier is required only if you're looking up data on another sheet. If you omit the sheet identifier, VLOOKUP will attempt to perform the lookup on the same sheet as the function itself.- The
*col1*,*row1*,*col2*, and*row2*identify the upper left column, upper left row, lower right column, and lower right row of the table array, in that order. Each value is preceded by a dollar sign (**$**), and a colon (**:**) is used to separate the upper-left and lower-right sets of values.
The leftmost column of the table array must contain your lookup value. Always define your table array so that the leftmost column contains the value you're looking up. This argument is required. |

3 | The third VLOOKUP argument, the In our example, the leftmost column of the Table Array is This argument is required. |

FALSE | The fourth argument is the - A value of
**TRUE**means that Excel will perform a "range lookup," also known as a fuzzy match. A fuzzy mage means that the starts at the top row of the table array, searching down, one row at a time. If the value in that row is less than the lookup value (numerically or alphabetically), it proceeds to the next row and tries again. When it finds a value greater than the lookup value, it stops searching and takes its result from the previous row. - A value of
**FALSE**means range lookup should not be performed. An exact match is required.
If you're not sure which type of match to use, choose If you choose This argument is optional. If you omit this argument, an exact lookup will be performed. |

) | A closing parenthesis, which indicates the end of the argument list and the end of the function. |

**Remember:**

- The lookup value
*must*be in the leftmost column of the table array. If not, the lookup function will fail. - Make sure that every value in the leftmost column of the table array is unique. If you have duplicate values in the column where the lookup takes place, the results of VLOOKUP are not guaranteed to be correct.