VLOOKUP with TRUE
99.99% of the time everybody uses FALSE as the range lookup criteria because 99.99% of the time we need an exact match from the table array. Even in the training sessions your trainers must have explained only FALSE criteria and would have said not to worry about the TRUE criteria. Probably because of the not arising scenario, we have not used TRUE criteria but in this article, we will show you how to use TRUE criteria in VLOOKUP with different scenarios.
VLOOKUP Closest Matching Result by Using TRUE Option
First, take a look at the syntax of the VLOOKUP formula.
In the above syntax, all the arguments of the VLOOKUP function are mandatory but the last argument [Range Lookup] is optional. For this argument, we can supply two parameters i.e. either TRUE (1) or FALSE (0).
If you supply TRUE (1) then it will find the approximate match and if you supply FALSE (0) it will find the exact match.
Now take a look at the below data set in excel.
Above we have numbers from 3 to 20 and on the right-hand side we have lookup value number as 14 but this number does not exist in the main numbers table.
Now first apply the VLOOKUP function with FALSE as the range lookup criteria to find the exact match.
Now hit enter key to get the result of the formula.
We have got an error value of not available #N/A as a result.
Now change the range lookup criteria from FALSE (0) to TRUE (1).
This time we have got the result as 10. You must be wondering for the number 14 which doesn’t exist in the table array how did this parameter have returned 10 as the result.
Let me explain to you the result for you.
We have set the range lookup argument as TRUE so it finds the closest match for the lookup value provided (14).
How this works is “our lookup value is 14 and the VLOOKUP starts to search from top to bottom, when the lookup value is lesser than the value in the table it will stop at that point in time return the respective result”.
For example in our data 14 is greater than 10 and lesser than 15, so the moment VLOOKUP finds the value 15 it will go back and return the previous smaller value i.e. 10.
To test this change the value from 10 to 15 and see the magic.
Because we have changed the current lesser value more than the lookup it has returned previous lesser value i.e. 8.
VLOOKUP TRUE as Alternative to IF Condition
IF is the important function in excel and for all the criteria based calculations we use IF statements. For example, look at the below data.
We have two tables here, “Sales Table” and “Incentive %” Table”. For “Sales Table” we need to arrive incentive % based on the revenue generated by each employee, to calculate incentive % we have below criteria’s.
- If the revenue is >50000 then incentive % will be 10%.
- If the revenue is >40000 then incentive % will be 8%.
- If the revenue is >20000 then incentive % will be 6%.
- If the revenue is <20000 then incentive % will be 5%.
So we have four criteria to satisfy, in these cases, we use typical IF conditions to arrive incentive %, but now see how we can use VLOOKUP arrive incentive %.
Apply the VLOOKUP formula with TRUE as the criteria.
There you go we have our incentive % against revenue generated by each employee. Let me explain to you how this works.
First look at the Incentive % table.
- This says between 0 to 20000 incentive % is 5%.
- Between 20001 to 40000 incentive % is 6%.
- Between 40001 to 50000 incentive % is 8%.
- Anything above 50000 incentive % is 10%.
Since we have provided TRUE as the range lookup argument it will return the approximate match.
Look at the first case, in this revenue is 35961, this is less than the incentive table value of 40000 and lesser value than 40000 in the table is 20000 and for this incentive, % is 6%.
Like this TRUE function works and says goodbye to complex IF conditions.
Things to Remember
- TRUE finds the approximate match.
- TRUE is also represented by 1.
- In the case of numerical scenario’s it always finds the less than or equal to the lookup value in the table array.
- If the lookup value is lesser than all the values in the lookup table then it will return an error like #N/A.
This has been a guide to VLOOKUP with True. Here we discuss how to use true criteria with VLOOKUP in different scenarios along with practical examples and downloadable excel templates. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –