Tutorial: Using the Insert Function to do a VLOOKUP
If you haven’t used the “Insert Function” it’s a menu item in excel which allows you to build your formulas in a structured way with prompts in a dialog box (instead of just typing the formulae out within a cell).
Honestly, I think it’s a bit slower than typing out the formula, but when you’re starting out it makes putting together the formula a little more structured (there’s no forgetting to put commas into the formula or forgetting elements of the formula).
Here’s an example of how to use VLOOKUP using the “Insert Function”. For the sake of consistency, we’re going to stick to our original example of how to use VLOOKUP
1. Click on the cell where you want to insert your VLOOKUP
2. Click on “Insert Function” – it’s under the menu item FORMULAS and looks like this
3. In the search box, type in VLOOKUP as below and click on Go. Select VLOOKUP from the results and click on OK.
4. You can either type the values in or you can click on the little red arrows which allow you to click on the relevant cells
For example, in the first box (lookup-value) you can either type in D1 or you can click on the red arrow and then click on cell D1. This is how it should look when you’re done:
5. Click on OK and you’re done!
Take a look at the dictionary example file for the finished product (I’ve highlighted the cell containing the VLOOKUP (function in yellow to make it easier to find).
Another benefit of using this method is that it gives you real time feedback as to what your VLOOKUP formula will return (so you can spot the dreaded #N/A before you’re done putting the formula together).
Want to get good at using the VLOOKUP function?
Download our practical VLOOKUP tutorial workbook with step-by-step instructions and examples to help you become a VLOOKUP pro.