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Vertical lookup. Searches down the first column of a range for a key and returns the value of a specified cell in the row found.

Frequently Asked Questions about the VLOOKUP formula include:
• What is VLOOKUP and how is it used? To find a value in one column from criteria in another column.
• Why is it called VLOOKUP? It's because you're vertically looking through a column for a value based on criteria.

How can VLOOKUP Formula be use appropriately?
The VLOOKUP formula can be used to quickly and efficiently search for a specific value in a table or range. In order to use it properly, users must designate the column from which they want the value to be retrieved, the criteria that the value they want to retrieve needs to meet, and the range in which they will be searching.

How can the VLOOKUP formula be mistyped?
VLOOKUP can be mistyped as: VLOOK, or LOOKUP, or VLOK, or VLOOKP, or LOOKOUT, or VLOOKOUT.

How can VLOOKUP be used inappropriately?
The VLOOKUP formula can be used inappropriately if users are not careful when setting up the criteria for the value they are searching for. If the search criteria used in the VLOOKUP formula is too broad, the incorrect value may be retrieved from the table. Additionally, if the search criteria used in the VLOOKUP formula is too narrow, the desired value may not be returned.

What are some common pitfalls when using VLOOKUP?
Common pitfalls when using the VLOOKUP formula include using the incorrect column for the search criteria, using inaccurate search criteria, forgetting to set up an exact match in the formula, or forgetting to add a "$" sign in front of the cell references.

What are common mistakes users can make when using VLOOKUP?
Common mistakes when using the VLOOKUP Formula include forgetting to include the column number in the formula, forgetting to include the table array in the formula, or typing the formula incorrectly.
The VLOOKUP formula can be commonly mistyped if users do not properly define the values they need to use in the formula. For example, a mistake that is often made is using incorrect cell references in the formula.

What are some common misconceptions about VLOOKUP?
Common misconceptions people might have with the VLOOKUP Formula include that it can only be used to look up values in a single column, or that it cannot include multiple columns in the search criteria. Additionally, the VLOOKUP formula cannot be used to look up values in multiple worksheets.

What is a good alternative to VLOOKUP?
Try the INDEX/MATCH combinations. More formula combinations can be found in the Formula Combinations section

Also check out XLOOKUP or HLOOKUP for more options when looking through data for various criteria.

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How To Use in Sheets

VLOOKUP(search_key, range, index, [is_sorted])

External Links

Five Frustrating Formulas and How to Conquer Them

Google Sheets formulas can be frustrating for a few reasons. First, you’re trying to remember what to use on the fly. Then you can't remember the name of a formula. If you do figure out the name, you can't remember the syntax. Then you don't know the proper way to write the data. FRUSTRATING!

10Better Sheets Tutorials

One common feature that users often request is the ability to add star ratings to their spreadsheets. While this feature is not built into Google Sheets, it is possible to create a star rating system using emojis and data validation.


This feature is really handy for designers who want to create notes around designs and mockups to showcase to clients. As a photographer, I can also use this to create a searchable sheet with keywords for my photos. You can even use screenshots instead of Unsplash photos like I'm using here. Basically, all you have to do is insert the images into cells and use V lookup to search for them using the ID numbers. You can use this to mock up a newsletter, test out different thumbnails as a YouTuber, or create a landing page or workflow for your business. It's really easy to change the photos by just changing the ID number.


If you find Vlookup a difficult formula to understand, this formula combination might be better. It's also much more flexible than Vlookup. Index/Match is the best. It's one of my favorite formula combinations.


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