Lookup Tables

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MICROSOFT®Office Excel. 2007
Intermediate Skills

Exploring Excel Functions

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Excel Functions - Lookup Tables
You use lookup functions in Excel to easily retrieve information from a data list. That is, Lookup Tables allow you to
search for and insert a value in a cell that is stored in another place in the worksheet/workbook. For example, if you
think of a tax table, certain incomes pay a certain amount of tax. A lookup table can be used to look at the income
amount input in your spreadsheet; go to the lookup reference table set up to look up the amount of tax that should be
paid; and, return that amount to your spreadsheet.
There are 3 types of lookup tables:
LOOKUP - returns a value either from a one-column or one-row range (known as a vector) or returns a value where

it looks in the first row or column and returns a value from the last row or column (known as an array)
VLOOKUP - searches the first column of a range of cells and returns a value from any cell on the same row of the

range. Use VLOOKUP when your comparison values are located in a column to the left of the data you

want to find.
HLOOKUP -searches for a value in the top row of a table or an array of values and returns a value in the same column

from a row you specify in the table or array. Use HLOOKUP when your comparison values are located in a

row across the top of a table of data and you want to look down a specified number of rows.
Here at the university, you may want to consider using the lookup function as a way of applying letter grades to
numerical grades. Let’s take a closer look at this example.
1. Open the workbook called lookupdata.xlsx
In this example we have a sheet called Courses which lists the students for Math 101 along with their
Numerical Grades.


There is also a sheet called Grades where we have created our lookup table. It lists the letter grade and
the corresponding numerical grades it represents.


We are going to set up a VLOOKUP function that will 1) look at the grade listed in column B of the
Courses sheet; 2) go to the Lookup Table found on the Grades worksheet to look up the Numerical
Grade that best represents #1; 3) bring back and place the Letter Grade in Column C of the Courses

1. Click within cell C2 of the Courses sheet and select Formula > Lookup & Reference
2. Choose VLOOKUP from the Function list
3. You are then presented with the following window. See the below for details on each field.


the value that Excel has to look for in the first column of the lookup table
the cell range for the table
the column # that Excel looks at for the information
do you need an exact or approximate match

The following information should be entered into each field:
1. Lookup_value

This is the column of the value we wish to lookup, i.e. the Math 101 mark)
This is the value range on the Grades Worksheet lookup table we will be using

2. Table_array

3. Col_index_num

4. Range_lookup

5. Click OK

NOTE: We must change the array to an absolute value as we do not want the
cell referencing to change when we copy and paste it from one cell to another)
This is the column # in the Lookup Table that contains the information you are
looking for. We are looking for the Letter Grade listed in the second column of
the Lookup Table
Optional (for this exercise leave the Range-lookup blank)
This is a logical value that specifies whether you want your lookup to find an
exact or approximate match:
- If range lookup is either TRUE or is ommitted, an exact or approximate
match is returned. If an exact match is not found, the next largest value that
is less than the lookup value is returned. The values in the first column of the
table array must be placed in ascending sort order.
- If range lookup is FALSE VLOOKUP will find only an exact match. If there are
two or more values in the first column of the table array that match the lookup
value, the first value found is used. Values in the first column of the table
array do not need to be sorted.
Test our your results by using the AutoFill feature for the remainder of your

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