This function is good for looking up information in big tables without having to scroll all over the place.
Say, there is huge spreadsheet containing data about items and their prices, size, package, whatever. The item is listed in the first column, all other information in the columns to the right. A big table with lots of data. Somewhere else the spreadsheet shows a summary of special items in this database, e.g. only selected items and their available stock. The summary lists a few items, with VLOOKUP the number of pieces in stock is automatically written into the cell.

Another idea could be to lookup share prices in a table and, by adding another couple of calculations to that formula, calculate the profitability - or list only those share prices you want to see from a huge database (for those who don't want to have the internet calculate their funds).


Basically, VLOOKUP has 3 arguments:
VLOOKUP(what to look for;in which area to search;output from which column)
=VLOOKUP(A10;B1:K250;5) Look in cell A10 and see what's written there. Go to the area of B1:K250. Search column B for what is written in A10. Once found, walk across that row to the 5th column in this area (F) and display the content of that cell.
=VLOOKUP("Mango";B1:K250;3) Look for the word "Mango" in column B (because B1:K250 starts there). Once Mango is found in column B, walk across to the 3rd column (D) and display the content of that cell.


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