Vlookup is a very useful function to reference in columns but there are alternatives to vlookup too because Vlookup has its limitations as it can reference from left to right, to reference from right to left we use a combination of Index and Match function combined which is one of the best alternatives to Vlookup in excel.
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As you know Vlookup function is used to lookup a value in a list and return any column from the lookup column. But if your lookup column is not the first one then Vlookup will not work here. You need to copy the lookup column to a newly inserted first column or you can apply the Lookup and index match combination to lookup a value across a row and return a value from a column.
#1 – LOOKUP Function as Vlookup Alternatives
Here we use lookup and index match as alternatives to vlookup in excel. The lookup function is better than Vlookup as it is less restrictive in use. It was first introduced in MS 2016.
You can search data both vertically and horizontally. It also allows left to right and right to left lookup, however, excel alternatives to vlookup only allow left to right. Here understand the working of lookup function with some examples.
Lookup Function with Excel Alternative to Vlookup – Example #1
Let’s consider the data of Name country and age and apply the lookup function.
Select the name entered in F4 cell and then apply the below lookup formula =LOOKUP(F4,A3:A19,C3:C19).
To get the age column
Right-to-Left Functionality Using Lookup – Example #2
The biggest benefits of lookup function are that it can operate from right to left. You will see the processing of lookup function in excel in the below example.
If you want to switch the procedure to search for age and output the corresponding name, it works for LOOKUP but produces an error for alternatives to VLOOKUP.
And get the output of the corresponding name
#2 – INDEX / MATCH Function as Vlookup Alternatives
Example #3 – Using Index Match
Let’s consider the below data and find out the age by using the Name from the table by using the normal index match and vlookup formula.
Here you will get the desired same output from both the formulas as both the formula can able to search the age from the data.
Example #4 – Right-to-Left Functionality Using Index Match
Let’s consider below data and find out the Name by using the Age from the table by using the normal index match and vlookup formula.
As you can easily see the that by using index match you will get the name from the table but #N/A error from the vlookup formulas as vlookup is not able to lookup value from left-right.
Things to Remember about the Alternatives to Vlookup in Excel
- Using the index match is far better than using a simple vlookup function.
- Index match can lookup right to left.
- Insert and deletion column safely.
- No limit for a lookup value’s size while using the VLOOKUP function, the length of your lookup criteria should not exceed 255 characters otherwise it will through #Value error in excel
- Higher processing speed than normal Vlookup.
You can download these Alternatives to Vlookup in Excel template here – Alternatives to Vlookup Excel Template
This has been a guide to Alternatives to Vlookup in Excel. Here we discuss examples of better alternatives to Vlookup in Excel Using 1) Lookup Function and 2) Index Match combination along with downloadable excel templates. You may also look at these useful functions in excel –