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Learn how to future-proof VLOOKUP by using Excel’s Table feature versus referencing static ranges

Professionals in a wide number of industries and businesses find the VLOOKUP function in Excel very useful. Why this is so is that it helps in locating an exact value. Using VLOOKUP, an MS Excel user can find a specific piece of information in the spreadsheet. This is very useful when there are very many values in a grid. In other words, the VLOOKUP function is ideal for locating an exact one from among a number of values. Using VLOOKUP, users can return data from other locations in a worksheet.  

An indication of the functions that VLOOKUP performs can be had from its expansion, which is Vertical Lookup. It works by searching for the specific item in a vertical manner. As opposed to normal values that can be performed manually; VLOOKUP function helps users to go further by enabling them to perform more complex tasks such as unit sales for a period of time at a certain price or its variables.

If the user wants to calculate the unit sales of say, a clothing material from one date to another at a certain price; VLOOKUP is extremely handy. This can be expanded to any number of brands sold by the business for any date or unit price, which is why this function is considered very useful.

We can understand the VLOOKUP function in MS Excel by drawing a parallel with “Control F”, or the “find” function in MS Word. In MS Word, it is possible to use this function to go to the exact word, whereas using VLOOKUP; the user can get down to much more, like the entire object’s associated values.

Get professional help to understand VLOOKUP better

An exploration of this function is best made with expert help. At a webinar that is being organized by Compliance4All, a leading provider of professional trainings for all the areas of regulatory compliance; Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA, will explain the way in which this program can be tweaked. David Ringstrom is a nationally recognized instructor who designs and teaches Excel courses that are based on over 25 years of consulting and teaching experience. To gain the benefit of experience that David brings into MS Excel, please register for this webinar by logging on to

What makes this presentation different is that the presenter will demonstrate every technique at least twice: first, on a PowerPoint slide with numbered steps, and second, in Excel 2016. He will explain the differences in Excel 2013, 2010, or 2007 both during the presentation as well as in his detailed handouts. David will also give participants an Excel workbook that will include nearly all the examples he will be using during the webinar.

Alternatives to VLOOKUP do exist

However, using VLOOKUP isn't always the most efficient approach. Hence, David will explain alternatives such as the INDEX and MATCH, SUMIF, SUMIFS, SUMPRODUCT, IFNA, and OFFSET functions. He will explain the limitations of VLOOKUP. In addition, he will also help participants understand the ways of future-proofing VLOOKUP by using Excel's Table feature versus referencing static ranges.

One of the major gains of this learning session is that the participants will be able to improve the integrity of their spreadsheets with Excel's VLOOKUP function. In addition to helping participants learn the ways of performing dual look-ups; the speaker will also help them get clarity on the user actions that can trigger #REF! errors. Participants will be able to use the IFERROR function to display something other than an #N/A error value when VLOOKUP can't find a match.

He will cover the following areas at this webinar:

o  Future-proofing VLOOKUP by using Excel's Table feature versus referencing static ranges

o  Using the SUMIF function to summarize data based on a single criterion

o  Learning why the INDEX and MATCH combination often is superior to VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP

o  Using the MATCH function to find the position of an item on a list

o  Using the IFERROR function to display something other than an #N/A error value when VLOOKUP can't find a match

o  Improving the integrity of spreadsheets with Excel's VLOOKUP function

o  Learning about the IFNA function available in Excel 2013 and later

o  Using the SUMIFS function to sum values based on multiple criteria

o  Using VLOOKUP to perform approximate matches

o  Seeing what types of user actions can trigger #REF errors

o  Performing dual lookups, which allow you to look across columns and down rows to cross-reference the data you need.

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