How to Create a VLookup in Microsoft Excel

A VLookup is used in a spreadsheet to find records within a data spreadsheet. A VLookup is extremely useful when a large amount of data needs to be searched to find a particular piece of information.

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A Vlookup

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Make sure that the data spreadsheet is sorted and the search field is on the far left of the data spreadsheet.

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Data Spreadsheet

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The example data spreadsheet is simply a party planning list. The individuals are named in column A and column B specifies their participation in the party. There are guests, a host and a party planner.

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Start the Vlookup spreadsheet with the search data on the left. While you can create a VLookup within the same spreadsheet as the data spreadsheet, you may effect the data integrity by doing so.

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In the cell that you want the look up data to appear, type "=VLookup(" and then click on the cell that has the search data.

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The result should look like the below example:

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\=VLOOKUP(A3

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Press the comma key on the keyboard. Then go to the data spreadsheet and highlight the cells that include both the column that holds the search field out to the data lookup field.

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The result should look like the below example:

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\=VLOOKUP(A3,Sheet1!A2:B9

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Press the comma key on the keyboard. Count the columns from left to right until you get to the column with the data that you want to show the data for. Type that number into the VLookup.

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The result should look like the below example:

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\=VLOOKUP(A3,Sheet1!A2:B9,2

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Press the comma key on the keyboard. Type True or False and close the parentheses. True allows the VLookup to select the next row of data if the lookup is not successful. False only allows the results to be exact. If the search data is not found the result will be #N/A.

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The result should look like the below example:

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\=VLOOKUP(A3,Sheet1!A2:B9,2,FALSE)