LOOKUP, VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP functions in Excel

The Excel lookup functions are used to create formulas to find the specific information you search in a table.

Vlookup means vertical lookup

Hlookup means horizontal lookup.

Lookup will look in the full table.

In our example we have a sales team and their ID listed from 10 to 15.

The sales are recording the ID only and so our table will add the name of the sales person beside the sales and ID.


Here the first example. Hlookup looks for a value HORIZONTALLY.


HLOOKUP(the value you are looking for here B10,$G$6:$L$7,2,FALSE)

Be careful to enter the table array in absolute position (with $x$y).

The number 2 represents the second (2nd) row. This is where the output value should come once the ID is found.

FALSE means you do look for the exact value.

TRUE would mean the result/output value, if not found exactly, could be the nearest match.


Here the second example. VLookup looks for a value VERTICALLY.


Here the same as before just vertically.

VLOOKUP(value you are looking for here B16,$G$14:$H$20,2,FALSE)

The number 2 represents the second (2nd) column. This is where the output value should come once the ID is found.

You can also use table if your name and IDs are in a table. Here example with table2 being this table. THis makes things more easy or readable.




Lookup looks in the full table or in a selected area of the table (called a vector).

IMPORTANT: for the LOOKUP function to work correctly, the data that you are looking into must be sorted in ascending order. If this is not possible, use VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP or MATCH.


LOOKUP(what you are looking for, lookup vector, result vector)

You can see here the Lookup function looks in the ID row and returns the Name Row as a result vector.

Same vertically.

Lookup vertical


Look at the INDEX (click on the link for details) to select an item in a list by its coordinates row and column

=INDEX(Range, row, column)

Also the CHOOSE (click on the link for details) function allows you to choose 1 item in a list

=CHOOSE(rank of the name to choose (1 or 2 or 3, ...) , name1, name2, name3, name4, .......)

Download the example from here.


TIP: Use the wildcard * and ? in your formulas. Look in our tips and tricks section.


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