Lookup & Reference Functions


VLookup | HLookup | Match | Index | Choose

Learn all about Excel's lookup & reference functions such as the VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, MATCH, INDEX and CHOOSE function.


The VLOOKUP (Vertical lookup) function looks for a value in the leftmost column of a table, and then returns a value in the same row from another column you specify.

1. Insert the VLOOKUP function shown below.

VLookup Function in Excel

Explanation: the VLOOKUP function looks for the ID (104) in the leftmost column of the range $E$4:$G$7 and returns the value in the same row from the third column (third argument is set to 3). The fourth argument is set to FALSE to return an exact match or a #N/A error if not found.

2. Drag the VLOOKUP function in cell B2 down to cell B11.

Copy Vlookup Function

Note: when we drag the VLOOKUP function down, the absolute reference ($E$4:$G$7) stays the same, while the relative reference (A2) changes to A3, A4, A5, etc.


In a similar way, you can use the HLOOKUP (Horizontal lookup) function.

HLookup Function


The MATCH function returns the position of a value in a given range.

Match Function

Note: Yellow found at position 3 in the range E4:E7. The third argument is optional. Set this argument to 0 to return the position of the value that is exactly equal to lookup_value (A2) or a #N/A error if not found.


The INDEX function returns a specific value in a two-dimensional or one-dimensional range.

Index Function, Two-dimensional Range

Note: 92 found at the intersection of row 3 and column 2 in the range E4:F7.

Index Function, One-dimensional Range

Note: 97 found at position 3 in the range E4:E7.


The CHOOSE function returns a value from a list of values, based on a position number.

Choose Function

Note: Boat found at position 3.