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Excel Tip – Copy A VLOOKUP Formula Across Multiple Columns
If you have set up your VLOOKUP formula in Excel, it can be really frustrating, your formula is working as expected looking at the first column of values and you have to manually adjust the formula if you want to copy it to multiple columns.
I want to see the monthly sales of two types of beanie hats in my total sales data. So, I set up my VLOOKUP to look up the monthly quantities of both Beanie hats Beanie_JL and Style Beanie_JP.
A normal VLOOKUP is working fine from my first column which returns a value from January 2015, but if I drag the formula to the right to continue to subsequent months from February 2015 I don’t get the desired results.
Even using absolute references in my formula, the COLUMN INDEX NUMBER does not advance when I drag the formula. This is where most users will manually adjust to get the results they need. However it is not necessary to do this as we can take the help of another formula with VLOOKUP. Let’s use the COLUMN formula to help us.
The COLUMN function is really straightforward. This translates the column number into a cell address. For example C1 will return 3 because C is the third column in our worksheet, so you can see how we can use this in the VLOOKUP formula.
Let’s go over the syntax of the VLOOKUP formula
VLOOKUP (lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])
LookupValue. The value you want to see. The value you want to see must be in the first column of the range of cells you specifiedtable_array
table_array. This is the range of cells in which VLOOKUP will search lookup_value and return value.
Col_index_num. This is the column number (starting at 1 for the left-most column table-array) that contains the return value.
range_lookup .
A logical value that specifies what you want VLOOKUP To find an exact match or approximate match:
- the truth The first column of the table is sorted numerically or alphabetically, and then the closest value is found. This is the default method if you don’t specify one.
- FALSE Finds the correct value in the first column
The first COLUMN INDEX NUMBER in the VLOOKUP I want to return is in the second column of our data set, so instead of using 2 as the COLUMN INDEX NUMBER, I can replace it with B1. The formula looks like this
=VLOOKUP($L$7,$B$3:$J$25,COLUMN(B1),FALSE)
Once I do this the formula will automatically update to its drawn form.
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