## VLOOKUP: Lookup the nth item (without helper columns)

In this series, Mastering VLOOKUP we have covered a lot of ground.  But this post is one of the most fiendish of all.  VLOOKUP, by its design, is intended to return the first match it finds.  But, if we want the 2nd, 3rd or nth VLOOKUP it not so easy.  Often people resort to helper … Read more

## Automatically expand the VLOOKUP data range

The 2nd argument in the VLOOKUP function is the table_array.  This is the range of cells which contains the data to be used within the VLOOKUP function.    For example, in the code below A1:C9 is the table_array. =VLOOKUP(“O Redding”,A1:C9,3,FALSE) When using the VLOOKUP function, we often know how many rows there are in the data, … Read more

## How to VLOOKUP row and column

There are times when our data is laid out in columns and rows. In these circumstances, we may need to VLOOKUP row and column at the same time. Look at the example below, how can we look up the Low for Jun? This post will show you how. VLOOKUP row and column with VLOOKUP & MATCH … Read more

## Using wildcards with VLOOKUP

Have you ever played Scrabble?  It is the game where you receive points for constructing words from letters printed on small plastic tiles.  In my opinion, the best tile to get is always the blank tile.  It doesn’t score any points, but it can be used to represent any letter at all.  Therefore, if you … Read more

## VLOOKUP with multiple criteria

Most Excel users think that VLOOKUP can only be used with a single criterion; until a few months ago I believed this was also the case.  In the past I had used INDEX/MATCH or helper columns because I had not appreciated how much could be achieved with the VLOOKUP & CHOOSE combination.  We have already … Read more

## VLOOKUP: Change the column number automatically

Unfortunately, VLOOKUP, whilst powerful, simple and easy to use, is one of the least flexible functions in Excel.  Just imagine for a moment that we have entered the following formula into Cell E6 (see screenshot below). =VLOOKUP(E4,A2:B10,2,0) This formula is returning the value from the 2nd column (Column B) – result 21. But, what happens … Read more

## How to VLOOKUP to the left

VLOOKUP is a very useful formula; most advanced Excel users still encounter situations where it would be a suitable solution.  But a basic VLOOKUP has one major flaw; it cannot lookup a value to the left.  The value being looked up must always be in the first column and the value returned must always be … Read more

## VLOOKUP: How to calculate faster

I hardly ever use an approximate match with VLOOKUP due to the risk of getting an incorrect result.  But I learned this little trick – which provided almost unbelievable speed increases. The problem With a VLOOKUP an exact match (i.e. including FALSE as the last argument) is a slow method of calculation.  It will search … Read more

## Turn a string into a formula with Evaluate

I encountered a situation recently where I needed to convert a text string into a formula for calculation.  I was expecting to find Excel would have the ability to do this.  And it does . . . in part. If you have a number stored as text you can multiply it by 1 and it … Read more

## How to use VLOOKUP

VLOOKUP is one of the most powerful functions in Excel.  It allows you to look up a value from a table based on a search term.  A simple example would be a where you had a long list of employees and their telephone numbers.  You could use VLOOKUP to find the telephone number of any … Read more