Excel 2010 Tutorial - VLookup

In this video from the Excel 2010 Tutorial series, School of Technology Program Coordinator, Justin Denton, teaches us about VLookup in Microsoft Excel 2010. This tutorial video is a great beginning step to your courses in technology at Rasmussen College.


The next formula, per se, is what's called a value look up. If you want to look up a given value based on a code-- we know that we've got product codes. We know that we have an item name. But I want to know what those details are about each given item.

We have our product codes in a different tab which lists the product name, the product code, and the actual product details. So we know it's a spoon, but what kind of spoon it is. It's a six inch dinner spoon with a gold tone.

Well, I want to return those on the fly back to my inventory list. And if this spoon changes, maybe the code changes, I want it to automatically update. To do that, there's a VLOOKUP function. So equals VLOOKUP, which basically stands for value look up.

You'll do your open bracket. And then you'll see this really long screen tip up here, value look up, or look up value, your table array, your column index, your range look up, all this stuff that you actually have to input in to make it work. But it is not horribly hard to do.

So when we look up our look up value, which-- all it is is the value we want to look up right now. Well, all I want to look up is find out what's the product code. So I just select D4, or the product code next to the formula I'm creating. So now I have V equals VLOOKUP, open bracket, D4.

I'll put a comma in after D4 because that's the value I'm looking up. There's nothing else I'm looking up in this specific scenario. Now I need to select the table array that I'm going to look that value up from. Well, the table array happens to be on a totally different sheet. So at this point, the easiest way is to stay right here, click on the product code sheet.

I'll see at the top of the screen here where it has the formula that I'm building up on the top of the screen. I will now notice that it's automatically changed product codes. And now I'm going to select the cell range of B2 through C7, which has the product code as well as the product details next to each code.

So that gives my look up table. I'm going to now look up from that table. Once I've done that, I can go ahead and hit comma. And then I'll notice the next highlighted field is column index number. And the column index number is-- after I've looked up that value-- so I'm looking up SPN right now-- what do I want to return? What column out of that table do I want to return?

Well, I want to return the product details column, which we would typically associate with the C column. But in this instance, in the small table we've defined, it's actually column two. So we want to return column two, whatever the value is in column two. And then we put the next comma in, which is asking for a range look up. And do we want an approximate match?

So if SPN's not found, do we want to give the next closest value? Or do we want an exact match? So if SPN's not found, we'll give some sort of error.

The best thing to do is doing a exact match, because approximate match isn't always the most reliable in the world. So we'll select false, or double click on exact match. I'll close my formula. And I've basically created the entire formula the way I need it.

So then when I hit Enter, I get an error. What did I do? Product codes-- oh, I know what I did. I clicked too many times when I was in there. Good troubleshooting.

So I had clicked too many times when I was in there. I got click happy. And it inserted product codes table twice.

So basically, after I've done this, it's smart enough now to look up SPN, verify that table in that other worksheet, and then return the details of what an SPN product code is, which happens to be a six inch dinner spoon, gold tone.

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Kendall is an Online Community Specialist at Collegis Education who oversees online communities on behalf of Rasmussen College. She has a passion for social media and enjoys motivating and encouraging former, current and future learners.

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