How To Copy And Paste Exact Formula In Excel Excel Tip – Six Common Mistakes Made When Using VLOOKUP Function In Excel

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Excel Tip – Six Common Mistakes Made When Using VLOOKUP Function In Excel

Sometimes your VLOOKUP formulas may not produce the results you expect. Here are my top 6 reasons why a novice VLOOKUP user finds their formula doesn’t do what they expected.

1. Issue of the Left Hand Column. VLOOKUP can ONLY look good. In this way it is very strict. Most users will copy and paste columns to accommodate this rule.

The solution to this involves us no using the VLOOKUP function. Using a combination of Excel’s INDEX and MATCH functions is a common approach to VLOOKUP. It is very flexible and unlocks more power in using Excel.

2. You need the right match. The last part of the VLOOKUP formula requires you to specify a direct or other approximate match.

=VLOOKUP(value,table_list,column_index_number,[range_lookup])

Most of the Excel users check the exact match and in those cases the value FALSE or zero should be entered in this part of the formula. If you leave it blank then the default value is TRUE, which means it will check the comparison. This is where mistakes can be made.

There are many situations where you can look for an approximate match in VLOOKUP, for example if you are looking for a sales commission bracket or a band. For VLOOKUP to work the TRUE values ​​must be sorted in ascending order

So if you want the exact match – make sure to enter the value FALSE in the lookup_list.

3. Wrong spine. The column_index_number of the formula is the column from which the upward value is returned. This part of the formula is actually static and may return a negative value if an additional column is inserted into the worksheet where your data is stored.

So, there are a few steps you can take to make sure this doesn’t happen.

  • Lock the worksheet – this will prevent users from making changes. This is not a practical solution if users want to modify the worksheet.

  • Use another function with your VLOOKUP – the MATCH function, enter this in the col_index_num part or formula argument.

4. The Attribution Formula Error. This is one of the most common reasons why VLOOKUP does not return the results you expect. We can fix this issue by making the table_array complete by wrapping it with $.

5. Data Source Expanded – additional rows of data have been added. This is one of the most common reasons I see. Simply there was too much data added to the data source and the table_array part of the formula was not updated. There are a few ways to go about this

  1. Change your data source to an Excel table. Home Tab – Group Styles – Format as Table

  2. Each time you go to the data source and press CTRL+A to get the full set of data updated.

If possible I use the first method and use the data source as a table.

6. Your Data Contains Duplicates. The VLOOKUP function can return only one record. It will return the first record that matches the value you searched for in your table. If your data has more than one possible value then VLOOKUP is not the function you want at this time. I recommend that a Pivot Table be used as an alternative.

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