Look up values in a range

Let's say you want to look up an employee's phone extension by using their badge number, or the correct rate of a commission for a sales amount. You look up data to quickly and efficiently find specific data in a list and to automatically verify that you are using correct data. After you look up the data, you can perform calculations or display results with the values returned. There are several ways to look up values in a list of data and to display the results.

What do you want to do?

Use the VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions

Use the INDEX, MATCH, and OFFSET functions

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

To do this task, use the VLOOKUP function.

Example

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

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help
  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Tools menu, point to Formula Auditing, and then click Formula Auditing Mode.
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
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)

Function details

VLOOKUP

Top of Page Top of Page


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.

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help
  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Tools menu, point to Formula Auditing, and then click Formula Auditing Mode.

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

 
1
2
3
4
5
6
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, which is 5.77, and then returns the value from column B that's in the same row as 5.77 (green)

Function details

VLOOKUP

Top of Page Top of Page


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.

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help
  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Tools menu, point to Formula Auditing, and then click Formula Auditing Mode.
 
1
2
3
4
A B C
Status Axles Bolts
In stock 4 9
On order 5 10
Back order 6 11
Formula Description (Result)
=HLOOKUP("Bolts", A1:C4, 3) Looks up Bolts in row 1, and returns the value from row 3 that's in the same column (10)

Function details

HLOOKUP

Top of Page Top of Page


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.

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help
  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Tools menu, point to Formula Auditing, and then click Formula Auditing Mode.
 
1
2
3
4
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, which is $50,000, and then returns the value from row 2 that's in the same column as $50,000 (20%)

 Notes 

  • To display the rate and return number as a percentage, select the cell and then click Percent Style Button image on the Formatting toolbar.
  • To display the Sales Volume number as dollars, select the cell and then click Dollar Style Button image on the Formatting toolbar.

Function details

HLOOKUP

Top of Page Top of Page


Create a lookup formula with the Lookup Wizard

The Lookup Wizard creates the lookup formula based on a worksheet data that has row and column labels. The Lookup Wizard helps you find other values in a row when you know the value in one column, and vice versa. The Lookup Wizard uses INDEX and MATCH in the formulas that it creates.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Add-ins, select the Lookup Wizard box, and then click OK.
  2. Click a cell in the range.
  3. On the Tools menu, click Lookup.
  4. Follow the instructions in the wizard.

Top of Page Top of Page


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

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

Example

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

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help
  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Tools menu, point to Formula Auditing, and then click Formula Auditing Mode.
 
1
2
3
4
5
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 list

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

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

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

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

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

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

Function details

INDEX

MATCH

Top of Page Top of Page


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

m

atch

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 the server will return, and the first column isn't sorted alphabetically.

Example

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

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help
  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Tools menu, point to Formula Auditing, and then click Formula Auditing Mode.
 
1
2
3
4
5
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.

Formula to look up a value in an unsorted list (OFFSET function)

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

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

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

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

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

Function details

MATCH

OFFSET

Top of Page Top of Page

 
 
Applies to:
Excel 2003