What is a vlookup in Excel

August 29, 2021

What is the vlookup formula in Excel

Hello, data friends! Today we will discuss what a vlookup is in Microsoft Excel. This is not a technical how-to or tutorial, this is a conceptual overview of what the vlookup formula is and what the formula is used for. If you want to read the vlookup tutorial and learn the vlookup through an example, then click on this link to read that tutorial.

Let’s get started on the conceptual explanation!

A vlookup is a formula in Excel that is used to bring together data from different tables / sources.

Why would I ever need to use a vlookup?

While conceptually the vlookup serves a rather simple purpose, in practice it serves a vital purpose. The reason I say this is because in practice, when extracting value from data, data rarely comes from a single source. Take for example internal data. Internal business data (data that’s a product of your business) is usually stored in tables that contain very similar data. Data for employee details would be stored in a table that is separate from data regarding sales and revenue figures. Similarly, data on branch locations and addresses would be stored separately from data on supplier account numbers.

The Power of Combining Data Sets

The vlookup formula serves the purpose of combining pieces of data from different tables into one concise and robust data set. A robust data set give us the ability to do a robust analysis. This is what a vlookup is all about.

what is a vlookup in Excel
Illustration of what a vlookup is: a coming together of data tables

The screen shot above is a simple example, but nevertheless an illustration of what a vlookup is.

If you have any further questions or need any clarification, don’t hesitate to reach me through Twitter DMs, @Cest_Nick.

Otherwise, I’ll catch you on the next post!


Book a call to explore the different avenues the Analytic Iron team can help You extract insights from Your Data.
BOOK a Discovery cALL