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VLOOKUP vs INDEX/MATCH: The Hottest Debate in Excel
Excel On Fire
Today I had to formally weigh in on the debate between VLOOKUP and INDEX/MATCH. This argument has gone on for years, and last week I heard strains of it rising up again. So, here's what I say:
VLOOKUP is a tool. INDEX/MATCH is a tool. VLOOKUP has weaknesses, e.g., it's easy to break, and it can't do lookups to the left. Conversely, INDEX/MATCH is undoubtedly more robust. But it's actually a function nested inside another function. That makes it awkward to work with.
They're both legitimate choices. The problem comes up with the INDEX/MATCH zealots who call for the Excel developers at Microsoft to eliminate VLOOKUP. They are proud to post things like, "I haven't used VLOOKUP in 10 years" and insist that VLOOKUP shouldn't be taught to beginners because it's a bad habit.