1. Computing

Video:How to Use the VLOOKUP Function in Excel

with Nick Richards

Using the VLOOKUP function in Excel 2010 is easy to do with a little instruction. Watch this About.com video to see step-by-step directions.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Use the VLOOKUP Function in Excel

Hi, I'm Nick and today for About.com, I'm going to show you how to use the VLOOKUP function in Excel.

What Is VLOOKUP?

VLOOKUP stands for vertical lookup and it is a useful tool to use when looking for a specific item in a large spreadsheet.

Using VLOOKUP Function in Excel

To help with organisation, it's a good idea to create a search space before you start, so you know where the vLOOKUP function will be working it's magic. Try and avoid leaving blank rows and columns, as this can make the process much more difficult.

Once ready, select the cell you wish to use for your VLOOKUP search results and then open the 'Formulas' ribbon. Choose the 'Lookup and Reference' option to open a list of reference options and scroll all the way down to VLOOKUP.

Formula for VLOOKUP

Clicking the VLOOKUP option will open a new window. In the Lookup_Value box, enter the cell reference from the first column. You can either type the formula manually or select the cell you wish to choose using your mouse. Once selected, press the F4 key to make your formula absolute – this is important to ensure there are no errors once a search is performed.

In the Table_array box, either type or use the mouse to select the contents of the field you wish VLOOKUP to search. Again, press F4 to make the formula absolute.

The col-index-num box requires you to enter the number of the column you wish VLOOKUP to retrieve data from. In this case, VLOOKUP will be retrieving data from the second column.

The range_lookup box requires you to enter either true or false. Entering true tells VLOOKUP to find the closest match, while typing false forces VLOOKUP to find an exact match.

Once all the information has been entered, click OK to complete the formula. Now, you can enter information into the pre-selected search cell and VLOOKUP will provide a match from the range of data selected. Be sure to stick to items in the selection range, though!

Now you know how to use the VLOOKUP function. For more Excel tips and tricks, visit Compute.About.com.

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