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How to Use VLOOKUP in Excel for Business

June 6, 2024
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Excel's VLOOKUP function is a powerful asset in the business world, aiding tasks from financial analysis to inventory management. As someone who relies on data organization, I've mastered VLOOKUP through practical experience. In this guide, I'll share techniques to effectively wield this tool.

Part 1: Practical Applications of VLOOKUP Function in Excel for Business

VLOOKUP Function


In the world of business, where time is money, efficiency is key. Excel's VLOOKUP function serves as a secret weapon, empowering business professionals to tackle data challenges head-on. As someone who lives and breathes technology, I've seen firsthand how mastering VLOOKUP can transform workflows. Join me as we demystify VLOOKUP, making data organization and analysis a breeze for business tasks.

Example 1: Data Organization for Financial Analysis

Step 1: Identify Lookup Value: You want to find the expenses for product A101.

Identify Lookup Value


Step 2: Select Table Array: Highlight the entire Expenses Data table (including headers).

Step 3: Enter Column Index Number: The 'Expenses' column is the second column in the Expenses Data table, so enter "2".

Step 4: Choose Range Lookup: Enter "FALSE" for an exact match.

Step 5: Formula: In the cell where you want the expenses for A101, enter: =VLOOKUP(A2, A1:B4, 2, FALSE)

the expenses for A101


Step 6: Result: VLOOKUP will return the value $2,800, which are the expenses for product A101.

Example 2: Sales Reports Compilation

Sales Reports Compilation


Step 1: Identify Lookup Value: In the Consolidated Sales Report, you want to find the total sales for A101.

Step 2: Select Table Array: Highlight the Region 1 Sales table (including headers).

Step 3: Enter Column Index Number: The 'Sales' column is the second column, so enter "2".

Step 4: Choose Range Lookup: Enter "FALSE" for an exact match.

Step 5: Formula: In the cell next to A101, enter: =VLOOKUP(G3;A1:B4;2;FALSE)

Enter Formula


Step 6: Repeat: Repeat steps 2-5, but this time select the Region 2 Sales table as the table array. In the formula, replace 'Region 1 Sales' with 'Region 2 Sales'.

Step 7: Calculate Total: Add the results of the two VLOOKUP formulas to get the total sales for A101.

Example 3: Inventory Management

Inventory Management


Steps:

Step 1: Identify Lookup Value: You want to find the total quantity and reorder point for product A101 across both warehouses.

Step 2: Create Consolidated Table: Create a new table with columns for Product ID, Total Quantity, and Total Reorder Point.

Step 3: Use VLOOKUP: For each product, use VLOOKUP to find the quantity and reorder point from each warehouse table, then add them together in the consolidated table.

Use VLOOKUP


Part 2: How to Use VLOOKUP Function in Excel [on Desktop or Mobile]

[Desktop]

If you're working on a Windows or Mac desktop, harnessing the power of VLOOKUP is made simple with the WPS Office software. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Open the WPS Office software on your desktop.

Open WPS desktop


Step 2: Navigate to the spreadsheet where you want to perform the VLOOKUP function.

Step 3: Select the cell where you want the result of the VLOOKUP function to appear.

Step 4: Click on the Formulas tab at the top of the screen.

the Formulas tab


Step 5: Locate the Lookup & Reference section and click on VLOOKUP.

Step 6: Enter the required parameters: Lookup_value, Table_array, Col_index_num, and Range_lookup.

the vlookup


Step 7: Press Enter to execute the function and retrieve the desired data.

Step 8: Review the result and make any necessary adjustments.

Review the result


Step 9: Save your spreadsheet to preserve the changes.

My experience with using VLOOKUP on the desktop has been nothing short of seamless. Whether organizing data for financial analysis, compiling sales reports, or managing inventory, VLOOKUP streamlines the process and ensures accurate results every time.

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[Mobile]

For those on the go, the WPS Office app brings the power of VLOOKUP to your Android or iOS device. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Download and install the WPS Office app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

the WPS Office app


Step 2: Open the app and navigate to the spreadsheet where you want to perform the VLOOKUP function.

WPS Office app


Step 3: Tap on the cell where you want the result of the VLOOKUP function to appear.

Step 4: Access the Formula menu from the toolbar.

Step 5: Choose the VLOOKUP function from the list of available formulas.

Step 6: Enter the required parameters: Lookup_value, Table_array, Col_index_num, and Range_lookup.

Enter the required parameters


Step 7: Tap on OK to execute the function and retrieve the desired data.

Step 8: Review the result and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 9: Save your spreadsheet to ensure your work is preserved.

Using VLOOKUP on mobile devices with the WPS Office app is intuitive and efficient. Whether you're crunching numbers on the train or reviewing inventory on-site, VLOOKUP ensures you have the data you need at your fingertips.

Part 3: Best Alternative to Excel—WPS Office

WPS Office logo


In a landscape dominated by Excel, WPS Office emerges as a formidable alternative, offering a suite of features tailored to meet the diverse needs of business people and entrepreneurs. Here's why WPS Office should be your go-to choice for all your spreadsheet needs:

Free Excel Templates: WPS Office understands the intricacies of business operations and provides a plethora of free Excel templates. From budgeting and financial planning to project management and invoicing, these templates streamline your workflow, saving you valuable time and effort.

Free excel template WPS

Free excel template WPS


Compatibility: One of the hallmarks of WPS Office is its seamless compatibility across different devices and operating systems. Whether you're working on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, WPS Office ensures that you can access your documents with ease. This flexibility and accessibility empower you to stay productive whether you're in the office or on the go.

Regular Updates and Support: At WPS Office, we are committed to providing our users with the latest features and enhancements to enhance their productivity. With regular updates and reliable customer support, you can rest assured that your business needs are met promptly and efficiently.

Choose WPS Office as your trusted partner in business, and experience the power of seamless collaboration and productivity.

FAQs

Q1. How Can I Use VLOOKUP to Compare Two Lists?

VLOOKUP can help you quickly find which items from one list are in another list, and which items are missing.

Q2. How Can I Use VLOOKUP on multiple columns?

You can use several VLOOKUP formulas, each looking for information in a different column.

Example :

  • In the cell where you want the email address to appear, enter this VLOOKUP formula:

=VLOOKUP("John Doe", D:C, 2, FALSE)

Replace "John Doe" with the full name you're searching for.

The range D:C tells VLOOKUP to search in column D (Full Name) and return the corresponding value from column C (Email).

The number 2 indicates that you want the value from the second column in the range (Email).

FALSE means you want an exact match.

Q3. How Can I Apply VLOOKUP on Large / Big Data in Excel?

When dealing with large or big data in Excel, applying VLOOKUP efficiently is crucial. Here's how:

  1. Sort the data: Before applying VLOOKUP, sort the data in both the lookup and reference tables. This will improve the performance of the VLOOKUP function.

  2. Use approximate match: If you're looking for an exact match, ensure that the Range_lookup parameter in the VLOOKUP function is set to FALSE. However, for large datasets, using approximate match (TRUE) can significantly improve performance.

  3. Consider using INDEX-MATCH: In some cases, INDEX-MATCH may perform better than VLOOKUP, especially with large datasets. Experiment with both methods to find the most efficient solution.

Q4. How Can I Use VLOOKUP in Excel for Accounting?

VLOOKUP is a versatile function that can be used in various accounting tasks. Here's how you can use VLOOKUP in Excel for accounting:

  1. Matching transactions: Use VLOOKUP to match transactions between different datasets, such as bank statements and accounting records.

  2. Budget variance analysis: Compare budgeted amounts with actual expenses using VLOOKUP to identify variances and analyze spending patterns.

  3. Client billing: Utilize VLOOKUP to match client information with billing records, ensuring accurate and timely invoicing.

  4. Expense categorization: Use VLOOKUP to categorize expenses based on predefined criteria, simplifying the accounting process and facilitating financial reporting.

Summary

Excel's VLOOKUP function is a powerful asset for any business. By mastering this tool, you can unlock new levels of efficiency in data analysis, reporting, and management. Remember, WPS Office is a fantastic free alternative to Microsoft Excel, offering excellent compatibility and a wealth of resources for business users.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.