How to Use VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP to find an exact match

Summary

The VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions contain an argument called range_lookup that allows you to find an exact match to your lookup value without sorting the lookup table.

Note It is not necessary to sort the lookup table if you use the range_lookup argument correctly.

More Information

The syntax of these functions are defined as follows.

VLOOKUP Function

   =VLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,col_index_num,range_lookup)
where:


Argument Definition of argument
---------------------------------------------------------------------

lookup_value The value to be found in the first column of the array.

table_array The table of information in which data is looked up.

col_index The column number in the table_array for which the
matching value should be returned.

range_lookup It is a logical value that specifies whether
you want to find an exact match or an approximate match.
If TRUE or omitted, an approximate match is returned; in
other words, if an exact match is not found, the next
largest value that is less than the lookup_value is
returned. If FALSE, VLOOKUP finds an exact match. If an
exact match is not found, the #N/A error value is returned.
Note If range_lookup is TRUE or omitted (for an approximate match), the values in the first column of table_array must be sorted in ascending order. If range_lookup is FALSE (for an exact match), the table_array does not need to be sorted.

Example That Uses FALSE as the Range_lookup Argument

The following list contains some fruits and their respective colors. Notice that the first column is not sorted:


A1: Fruit B1: Color
A2: Kiwi B2: Green
A3: Banana B3: Yellow
A4: Grape B4: Purple
A5: Apple B5: Red
The following formula finds the color (Red) that corresponds to the fruit Apple. You can type the formula in any cell on the worksheet:

=VLOOKUP("Apple",A2:B5,2,FALSE)
Notice that if you change the range_lookup argument to TRUE, Excel returns the #N/A error, because the first column is not sorted.

HLOOKUP Function

=HLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,row_index_num,range_lookup)
where:


Argument Definition of argument
---------------------------------------------------------------------

lookup_value The value to be found in the first column of the array.

table_array The table of information in which data is looked up.

row_index The row number in the table_array for which the
matching value should be returned.

range_lookup It is a logical value that specifies whether
you want to find an exact match or an approximate match.
If TRUE or omitted, an approximate match is returned; in
other words, if an exact match is not found, the next
largest value that is less than the lookup_value is
returned. If FALSE, VLOOKUP finds an exact match.
If an exact match is not found, the #N/A error value is
returned.
Note If range_lookup is TRUE or omitted (for an approximate match), the values in the first row of table_array must be sorted in ascending order. If range_lookup is FALSE (for an exact match), the table_array does not need to be sorted.

Example That Uses FALSE as the Range_lookup Argument

The following list contains some fruits and their respective colors. Notice that the first column is not sorted:


A1: Fruit B1: Color
A2: Kiwi B2: Green
A3: Banana B3: Yellow
A4: Grape B4: Purple
A5: Apple B5: Red
The following formula finds the Color column, and returns the third item (-1) for the heading Yellow. You can type the formula in any cell on the worksheet:

=HLOOKUP("Color",A1:B5,3,FALSE)
Notice that if you change the range_lookup argument to TRUE, Excel returns the #N/A error, because the first column is not sorted.

References

For additional information about how to use LOOKUP functions in Microsoft Excel, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

181212 XL: Performing a Lookup with Unsorted Data in Excel
214264 XL: How to Perform a Case-Sensitive Lookup
214069 XL: How to Return the First or Last Match in an Array
181201 XL: HLOOKUP, VLOOKUP, LOOKUP Return Incorrect Values
213476 XL: Unexpected Results with Mixed Text and Numbers in Lookup Table
280094 XL: Sample User-Defined Function to Hide Formula Errors
For more information about the HLOOKUP function, click Microsoft Excel Help on the
Help menu, type HLOOKUP worksheet function in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topic.

For more information about the VLOOKUP function, click Microsoft Excel Help on the
Help menu, type VLOOKUP worksheet function in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topic.
Properties

Article ID: 181213 - Last Review: Sep 23, 2015 - Revision: 1

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