What does it do?

Searches for an approximate value in the first column of a table array and returns a value in the same row from another column (to the right) in the table array.

Formula breakdown:

=VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])

What it means:

=VLOOKUP(this value, in this list, and get me value in this column, Approximate Match/TRUE/1])


The Vlookup function in Excel is great when you want to find an exact match in your data table but what happens if you want to find an approximate match?

Approximate matches are used when you have an ascending table like Commission Bonus Rates or Income Tax Rates.

IMPORTANT: For the Vlookup Approximate Match to work in Excel, the table_array has to be sorted in ascending order!

So the way that this formula works is that it looks at the first value in the Table_Array that is greater than the Lookup_Value and then goes back one value.

Have  a look ta the following tutorial which explains this formula & don’t forget to download the workbook so you can practice:


Vlookup_Approximate Match





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