You are on page 1of 4


Microsoft Excel Version 2002 Step by Step Courseware Instructor Guide

Using HLOOKUP and VLOOKUP Functions


Excel provides two lookup functions that can be used to retrieve information stored in a table: VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP. A lookup function is a good way to search for and insert a value in a cell when the desired value is stored elsewhere in the worksheet. A lookup function searches rows or columns in a specified range (called a lookup table in Excel). Both functions use the same arguments (with one exception, as explained below). An argument refers to the values that a function uses to perform operations or calculations. The type of argument a function uses is specific to the function. The VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions locate a specific value in a table (any row-and-column range or a named range). This value might be the name of a person, for example. These functions retrieve corresponding information from the table that relates to this value (such as the persons birth date) and place the data into the active cell. You indicate how many rows or columns that the desired value is from the lookup value. For example, the recreation director at Adventure Works keeps a table of names, room numbers, and birthdays for the children of guests at the resort. Each day, she uses the VLOOKUP function to search for that days date in the table and display the name and room number of each child whose birthday is that day. She then uses this information to send birthday gifts to the appropriate rooms.

The LOOKUP function uses specific criteria to search for a value in a single column or row of a table, and then it displays a value from the corresponding position in a second table. For example, suppose you had a worksheet in which one column contains a room number and the second column contains the room type. You could perform a lookup for room 102 in the first column. Excel would then return the room type stored in the corresponding column. For example, a lookup for room 102, located in the third row of the first column, would return Single Room/Queen Bed from the third row of the second column. The chief advantage of the LOOKUP function is that you do not need to know the row or column position where the desired lookup information is stored.

The HLOOKUP function looks in rows (a horizontal lookup), and the VLOOKUP function looks in columns (a vertical lookup). Each function can use up to four arguments. All of the arguments below are required except for range_lookup: HLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,row_index_num,range_lookup) VLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,col_index_num,range_lookup)

Lesson 2 Working with Data and Named Ranges 29

Argument lookup_value

Description The value to be found in the row or the column. The lookup value can be a constant value, a text contact enclosed in quotation marks, or the address or name of a cell that contains a numeric or text constant. The table of information in which data is looked up. This can be the row-and-column coordinates of the table or the name of a range. The numeric position of the row that is to be searched (used only for HLOOKUP). The numeric position of the column that is to be searched (used only for VLOOKUP). If the function is to return the nearest value, even if there is no match, this value should be set to TRUE. If an exact match is required, this value should be set to FALSE.


row_index_num col_index_num range_lookup

To better understand the use of VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP, briefly review the following lookup table that the sales manager of Adventure Works created to formulate end-of-year bonuses for the sales staff. Years is column 1 in the lookup table, Standard Bonus is column 2 in the lookup table, and Excellence Award is column 3. Years, Standard Bonus, Excellence Award is row 1 of the lookup table:
Column1 Row Row Row Row Row Row Row Row Row 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Years 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 Column2 Bonus Schedule Standard Bonus $50.00 $75.00 $100.00 $250.00 $500.00 $750.00 $1,000.00 $1,500.00 Column 3 Excellence Award $200.00 $300.00 $400.00 $1,000.00 $2,000.00 $3,000.00 $4,000.00 $6,000.00

Now review the following lookups and their results:

=VLOOKUP(D7,Bonustable,2) Result: $1,000 VLOOKUP looks in cell D7 of the above worksheet and finds the value 13 stored there. The function then looks in the Bonustable range for a matching value and finds it in the second-to-last row. The function then retrieves the value ($1,000.00) in column 2 of the same row and places the value in the active cell. =VLOOKUP(12,Bonustable,2,TRUE) Result: $750.00 VLOOKUP looks for the value 12 in the Bonustable range and does not find it. However, because the Range_lookup argument is set to TRUE, the function finds the closest (next lower) value, 11


Microsoft Excel Version 2002 Step by Step Courseware Instructor Guide

in this case. The function then returns the value ($750.00) in column 2 of the same row and places the value in the active cell.

=VLOOKUP(14,Bonustable,2,FALSE) Result: #N/A VLOOKUP looks for the value 14 in the Bonustable range and does not find it. Because the Range_lookup argument is set to FALSE (which means an exact match is required), the function places the #N/A error value in the active cell to indicate that no match existed. =HLOOKUP(StandardBonus,Bonustable,4,FALSE) Result: $100.00 HLOOKUP looks for the value Standard Bonus in the Bonustable range, finds the value in column 2, and then returns the value ($100.00) in row 4 of the column.

Show slides 02 Ranges 1213, Using the HLOOKUP and VLOOKUP Functions.

In this exercise, you use the VLOOKUP function to calculate the yearly bonus, based on years of service, for an Adventure Works employee named Benson. Then you use the fill handle to copy the VLOOKUP function to cells for other employees. You also use the HLOOKUP function to return the Excellence Award value in a specified row of a lookup table.
1 2 Open the Employee History Bonus workbook. Click cell E7, and type =vlookup(d7,bonustable,2). Cell D7 contains the number of years worked, which is the lookup value. VLOOKUP looks for a match to the D7 value in the bonustable range (A20:C28), and then it looks in the second column, where it finds the match. 3 4 Press Enter. The result of the function ($1000.00) appears in cell E7. Click cell E7, and drag the fill handle down to cell E15. The bonuses for the other employees are calculated.

Be careful not to insert any spaces when you type this formula.

Bonustable has already been defined as a range name for cells A20:C28. You can verify this by clicking the Name down arrow and clicking Bonustable. Arguments used in a VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP function are not case-sensitive, so you can type them in either uppercase, lowercase, or any combination of uppercase and lowercase characters. Also the VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP function names are not case-sensitive.

You can also access the VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions from the Function Arguments dialog box, which you open by clicking Function on the Insert menu or by clicking the Insert Function button next to the Formula Bar.

Click cell F7.

Lesson 2 Working with Data and Named Ranges 31

Explain that if range_lookup is not set to false, Excel uses the default value true for the range_lookup argument. However, a range_lookup argument of true works only if the values in the first row of the table (Years, Bonus, and Excellence Award) are in ascending alphabetical order, which they are not. The range_lookup argument must be set to false for the lookup in step 6 to work properly.

Type =hlookup(excellence award,bonustable,8,false), and press Enter. Excel searches for the text string excellence award in the first row of the bonustable range and locates it in column C. Then Excel retrieves the value ($4,000.00) in cell C8 and places it in the active cell.

Save and close the workbook.

If you have trouble remembering the syntax for an HLOOKUP or VLOOKUP function, you can use the Function Arguments dialog box to help you enter the lookup information. On the Insert menu, click Function or click the Insert Function button next to the Formula bar to display a list of categories and function names. In the categories list, click Lookup & Reference. In the function list, click VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP, and click OK. Excel will then prompt you for the information required to perform the lookup.