How to Do a VLOOKUP With Two Spreadsheets in Excel

Written by paul dohrman
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How to Do a VLOOKUP With Two Spreadsheets in Excel
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The VLOOKUP functon in Excel looks for a certain entry in the first column of a vertically oriented table. After it finds the row with the first match, it finds the column you specify in the function. The function then returns the cell contents of that row and column from the searched table. You may need to perform such a search through a separate spreadsheet in the same workbook. This makes the syntax only slightly more complex.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Select the cell in which you want the returned value.

  2. 2

    Click on the formula bar, the long empty box at the top of the screen.

  3. 3

    Type =VLOOKUP(“text you want to match”,

    Be sure to include the double quotes.

  4. 4

    Click the tab of the other spreadsheet, the one holding the searchable table.

  5. 5

    Highlight the table.

  6. 6

    Click back to the original spreadsheet. Now the location will be in the VLOOKUP function.

  7. 7

    Click the formula bar again, add a comma after the table location and type in which column you want the value returned from. For example, if you want to return two columns to the right of the search column, type 3.

  8. 8

    Type a closing parenthesis and press “Enter.”

Tips and warnings

  • If you will be creating several VLOOKUP functions across several cells, pointing to the same table in a different spreadsheet, type dollar signs into the table location of the formula you are copying. This way, the table won’t change when you copy the formula.
  • For example, change =VLOOKUP(“dog breed”,Sheet2!A1:B30,2) into =VLOOKUP(“dog breed”, Sheet2!$A$1:$B$30,2).

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