Thursday, August 14, 2014

Quick Excel Tips: Dynamic Lookup

Today, I’m going to show you one of my favorite Excel tips: Dynamic Lookup or Dynamic Searching by using a combination of VLOOKUP and MATCH functions. Bascially, this function combo makes it so that the column that you pull the data from is dynamic based on the header making it more flexible than VLOOKUP by itself because you don’t have to rely on knowing the index column number.

In my example (that you can download below), in cell B2 I have this formula that combines VLOOKUP and MATCH:

=VLOOKUP($A2, $D$2:$G$14, MATCH($B$1,$D$1:$G$1,0),FALSE)

excel dynamic lookup formula

The column header in B matches one of the column headers in D, E, F, G - it doesn’t matter which one, you can change it and the values update automatically, which is the beauty of this formula. This makes it easy to add or remove columns without having to update your formulas. Not only is it more dynamic, the index column need not be on the left. Try it yourself!

Download my Dynamic Lookup formula example spreadsheet here.