## Introduction to VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP

Before we dive into troubleshooting, let’s briefly review what VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP are and how they are used in Excel.

VLOOKUP, which stands for ‘Vertical Lookup,’ is a function that searches for a value in the first column of a table and returns a value in the same row from a specified column. Its syntax is:

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

XLOOKUP, introduced in Excel for Microsoft 365, is a more versatile and powerful function that can search in any direction and return a value from any column or row. Its syntax is:

`=XLOOKUP(lookup_value, lookup_array, return_array, [if_not_found], [match_mode], [search_mode])`

**Troubleshooting VLOOKUP**

**Ensure Correct Lookup Value**

–**Problem**: VLOOKUP is not returning the correct value.

–**Solution**: Check if the `lookup_value` is accurate and exists in the first column of the `table_array`.

2.**Verify Table Array Reference**

–**Problem**: #REF! error.

–**Solution**: Ensure the `table_array` is correctly referenced, and the `col_index_num` does not exceed the number of columns in the `table_array`.

3.**Check Column Index Number**

–**Problem**: Incorrect results are returned.

–**Solution**: Confirm that the `col_index_num` corresponds to the correct column from which you want to retrieve the value.

4.**Range Lookup Argument**

–**Problem**: Approximate match instead of an exact match.

–**Solution**: Set the `range_lookup` argument to FALSE for an exact match.

**Example of VLOOKUP Troubleshooting**

| A | B | C | D |

|—|—|—|—|

| 1 | Product ID | Product Name | Price |

| 2 | 101 | Apples | $1.00 |

| 3 | 102 | Bananas | $0.50 |

| 4 | 103 | Cherries | $3.00 |

If you use `=VLOOKUP(102, A1:C4, 3, TRUE)`, it might return an incorrect price if the Product IDs are not sorted. To fix this, use `=VLOOKUP(102, A1:C4, 3, FALSE)` for an exact match.

**Troubleshooting XLOOKUP**

**Correct Lookup and Return Arrays**

–**Problem**: #VALUE! or #N/A error.

–**Solution**: Ensure `lookup_array` and `return_array` are correctly specified and have the same dimensions.

2.**Handling Not Found Values**

–**Problem**: #N/A error when the value is not found.

–**Solution**: Use the `[if_not_found]` argument to specify a custom message or value when the `lookup_value` is not found.

3.**Match Mode and Search Mode**

–**Problem**: Not finding the correct match type.

–**Solution**: Use the `[match_mode]` argument to specify the type of match (exact match, wildcard, etc.) and `[search_mode]` to define the search direction.

**Example of XLOOKUP Troubleshooting**

| A | B | C |

|—|—|—|

| 1 | Product Name | Price |

| 2 | Apples | $1.00 |

| 3 | Bananas | $0.50 |

| 4 | Cherries | $3.00 |

If you use `=XLOOKUP(“Banana”, A2:A4, B2:B4)`, it will return #N/A because of the typo. Correct the spelling to “Bananas” or use the `[if_not_found]` argument like `=XLOOKUP(“Banana”, A2:A4, B2:B4, “Not Found”)` to handle errors gracefully.

**Conclusion**

Mastering the VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP functions in Excel can significantly improve your data analysis capabilities. By understanding common issues and learning how to troubleshoot them, you can ensure that your lookup functions are accurate and efficient. Remember to check your lookup values, verify table array references, and understand the importance of match types. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an Excel lookup function expert.

## Live Excel Support Transcript Example:

*Below is a live transcript of one of our **Excel experts** helping a customer with VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP:*