Look up values in a list of data

Suppose you want to look up an employee's phone extension by using his badge number. Or, you want to find commission rate for a given sales amount. Excel gives you several ways to up data in lists quickly and efficiently.

Look up values vertically in a list by using an exact match

To do this task, you can use the VLOOKUP function, or a combination of the INDEX and MATCH functions.

Example that uses the VLOOKUP Function

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

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 A B C D Badge Number Last Name First Name Extension ID-34567 Davolio Nancy 5467 ID-16782 Fuller Andrew 3457 ID-4537 Leverling Janet 3355 ID-1873 Peacock Margaret 5176 ID-3456 Buchanan Steven 3453 ID-5678 Suyama Michael 428 Formula Description (Result) =VLOOKUP("ID-4537", A1:D7, 4, FALSE) Lookup the badge number, ID-4537, in the first column and return the matching value in the same row of the fourth column (3355)

Example that uses the INDEX and MATCH function

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

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 A B Product Count Bananas 38 Oranges 25 Apples 41 Pears 40 Formula Description (Result) =INDEX(A2:B5,MATCH("Pears",A2:A5,0),2) Looks up Pears in column A and returns the value for Pears in column B (40).

The formula uses the following arguments.

Formula to look up a value in an unsorted range (INDEX function)

1. A2:B5: The entire range in which you are looking up values.

2. MATCH("Pears",A2:A5,0): The MATCH function determines the row number.

3. "Pears": The value to find in the lookup column.

4. A2:A5: The column for the MATCH function to search.

5. 2: The column from which to return the value. The leftmost column is 1.

Look up values vertically in a list by using an approximate match

To do this task, use the VLOOKUP function.

Important: This method only works if the values in the first column have been sorted in ascending order.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

In this example, you know the frequency and want to look up the associated color.

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 A B Frequency Color 4.14 red 4.19 orange 5.17 yellow 5.77 green 6.39 blue Formula Description (Result) =VLOOKUP(5.93, A1:B6, 2, TRUE) Looks up 5.93 in column A, finds the next largest value that is less than 5.93 (5.77), and then returns the value from column B that is in the same row as 5.77 (green)

Look up values vertically in a list of unknown size by using an exact match

To do this task, use the OFFSET and MATCH functions.

Use this approach when your data is in an external data range that you refresh each day. You know the price is in column B, but you don't know how many rows of data will be returned, and the first column isn't sorted alphabetically.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

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 A B Product Count Bananas 38 Oranges 25 Apples 41 Pears 40 Formula Description (Result) =OFFSET(A1,MATCH("Pears",A2:A5, 0),1) Looks up Pears in column A and returns the value for Pears in column B ( 40).

The formula uses the following arguments.

1. A1: The upper left cell of the range, also called the starting cell.

2. MATCH("Pears",A2:A5, 0): The MATCH function determines the row number below the starting cell to find the look up value.

3. "Pears": The value to find in the lookup column.

4. A2:A5: The column for the MATCH function to search. Don't include the starting cell in this range.

5. 1: The number of columns to the right of the starting cell to find the lookup value.

Look up values horizontally in a list by using an exact match

To do this task, use the HLOOKUP function.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

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 A B Bolts Status Axles 9 In stock 4 10 On order 5 11 Back order 6 Formula Description (Result) =HLOOKUP("Bolts", A1:C4, 3, FALSE) Looks up Bolts in row 1, and returns the value from row 3 that's in the same column (10)

Look up values horizontally in a list by using an approximate match

To do this task, use the HLOOKUP function.

Important:  This method only works if the values in the first row have been sorted in ascending order.

Example

The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

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 A B C D 10000 50000 100000 Sales Volume .05 .20 .30 Rate Formula Description (Result) =HLOOKUP(78658,A1:D4,2, TRUE) Looks up \$78,658 in Row 1, finds the next largest value that is less than \$78,658 (\$50,000), and then returns the value from row 2 that is in the same column as \$50,000 (20%)

Notes:

• You can display the rate and return number as a percentage. Select the cell, and then on the Home tab, in the Number group, click Percent Style .

• You can display the Sales Volume number as dollars. Select the cell, and then on the Home tab, in the Number group, click Accounting Number Format .

What happened to the Lookup Wizard?

The Lookup Wizard was replaced by the function wizard and the Lookup and reference functions (reference).

Formulas that were generated by this wizard will continue to work in this version of Excel.

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