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## VLOOKUP Number – 3 Golden Rules You Can Implement Right Away to Avoid NA Errors

If you do not know these 3 essential rules, it is possible that you will face some problems when performing VLOOKUP number in Excel…

- The VLOOKUP function will show you the #N/A message when the number in the lookup number is not equal to the number in the left index column of the table array.
- Excel VLOOKUP will return #N/A errors when a number is stored as text in the left index column.
- The Excel VLOOKUP function will show you the #N/A message when the number contains quotation marks, like you would in texts.

Golden Rule #1 is very important to VLOOKUP effectively in Excel!

Stop the headache of trying to figure out where Excel is recovering the error. For example, the formula: =VLOOKUP(13270.00,$A$2:$C$6,3,0)… returns #N/A.

You generally know that the lookup number 13270.00 is in the left index column.

The fact that the error message means the number is not there. You usually insist, yes the number is there because I’m seeing it. Big mistake!

The backend left column shows the number 13270.003 as 13270.00. What you see is not what you get, so for Excel all numbers are equivalent to one number.

VLOOKUP Number Golden Rule #2 – Don’t store numbers as text in an index column…

Why does Excel store numbers as text?

Here are some common reasons: a number with a leading apostrophe, a number with the wrong decimal delimiter, long numbers can also be converted to text after import.

Let me show you an example…

This returns VLOOKUP: =VLOOKUP(5250,$A$2:$C$6,3,0)… error #N/A

The reason is that the number stored as text in the left index column is 5250. You can be aware of this by seeing a green symbol in the upper left corner of the cell. Another good tip for finding numbers stored as text is that texts are automatically left-aligned.

So the mysteriously left-aligned number could be text. Here’s a useful strategy for converting numbers stored as text to numbers, mass.

- Select an empty cell
- Copy (basically zero to clipboard)
- Highlight cells with numbers stored as text
- Paste Special (CTRL+ALT+V)>Add
- Press OK

VLOOKUP Number Golden Rule #3 – Never write a lookup number with quotation marks…

For example, the formula, =VLOOKUP(“52503,$A$2:$C$6,3,0)… returns the message #N/A. I’m assuming here that your left index column contains numbers (for 5250) case). I refer to this because the formula: =VLOOKUP(“52503,$A$2:$C$6,3,0) does not return #N/A if the left column contains the number 5250 stored as text.

The fact that these small problems force you to debug and doubt about function results, means that you will get more productivity after you apply these rules.

You’ll speed up the VLOOKUP formula writing step and increase your confidence in the results. As I said, it will ultimately increase your productivity, and hopefully it will advance your career and your overall value in your job and profession more quickly. Please always have fun working with your data, and let me know how you’re doing. I’m here to help, and always happy to do so in any way I can.

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