Microsoft Excel provides efficient functions that allow one to search for and look up data. We will compare Excel DGET vs. VLOOKUP functions of the lookup functions. The DGET function is not known to all. It is a database function and very useful. So, letâ€™s start with the main article to understand the 7 distinct differences between these functions.

## DGET vs VLOOKUP Functions in Excel: 7 Key Differences

The United States Tennis Association has a ranking system, called the National Tennis Ratings Program (NTRP) which designates NTRP ratings based on the tennis playerâ€™s skill level. For the Adult NTRP Ratings, the skill level is designated by looking at the results of the player at hand, in USTA League and/or USTA NTRP adult tournaments. The scale starts at 2 and increases in increments of 0.5 all the way up to 7.

A hypothetical tennis coach is interested in retrieving the USTA rankings of certain players at his clinics, in order to pitch equally ranked players against each other in future matches. The source data is shown in the following images.

### 1. Syntax of DGET vs VLOOKUP in Excel

The syntax of **the DGET function** and** the VLOOKUP function** are different from each other. In this section, we will show the differences between these functions.

#### 1.1. DGET Function

**The DGET function** has the following three compulsory arguments by using which it will return the value.

`=DGET (database, field, criteria)`

where the **database** is the entire data set and the **first row** contains the **labels** or **column headings**, the **field** indicates the column that is used in the function, and **criteria** are the group of cells that contains the conditions that one wants to specify.

#### 1.2. VLOOKUP Function

In **the VLOOKUP function**, we have the following three mandatory arguments with an optional argument.

`=VLOOKUP (lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])`

Where **lookup_value** is the value you want the function to use in order to find the matching output value, **table_array** is the range that contains all the columns of interest, the **col_index_num** specifies the number of the column containing the output value that we want to look up, and **[range_lookup]** is a true or false value â€“ where **TRUE** denotes an **approximate** match and **FALSE** is an **EXACT** match.

### 2. Importance of Headers

Here, we will see the importance of declaring the source dataset with column headers for the **DGET **and **VLOOKUP functions**.

#### 2.1. DGET Function

We will try to look up the **NTRP Rating **value for the player **Beverly Morgan **among other players’ names in the dataset using **the DGET function**.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=DGET(B6:F88,D3,C3:C4)`

Here, **B6:F88 **is the dataset starting from the column header name, **D3 **is the cell reference for the **Field **name, and **C3:C4 **is the range of **Criteria **with the header name for which we are looking for the value.

As a result, we are getting the correct **NTRP Rating **of** 3.5 **for the player

**Beverly Morgan**.

Instead of using the former formula if we use the following formula,

`=DGET(B7:F88,D3,C3:C4)`

where we have changed the dataset reference to **B7:F88 **by ignoring the column header names.

In return, we are getting the **#VALUE! error** for ignoring the column headers’ names in the **dataset** argument position.

#### 2.2. VLOOKUP Function

You can try to look up the **NTRP Rating **value for the player **Beverly Morgan **among other players’ names in the dataset using **the VLOOKUP function**.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=VLOOKUP(C4,C6:F88,4,FALSE)`

Here, **C4 **is the **lookup **value, **C6:F88 **is the **table_array** starting from the column header name, **4 **is the **column index** number, and **FALSE **is for an **exact match**.

As a result, we are getting the correct **NTRP Rating **of** 3.5 **for the player

**Beverly Morgan**.

If we change the reference of the **table_array **argument,

`=VLOOKUP(C4,C7:F88,4,FALSE)`

Here, we have changed the **table_array **argument to **C7:F88 **excluding the column headersâ€™ names and as a result, we are getting the same result as the previous one.

### 3. Flexibility of Using Column Number or Header in DGET vs VLOOKUP Functions in Excel

Here, we will show the differences between the **DGET **and **VLOOKUP functions **by using the column number or the header name of the column from which we want to extract our look-up value.

#### 3.1. DGET Function

We will try to look up the **NTRP Rating **value for the player **Isabella Johnson **among other players’ names in the dataset using **the DGET function**.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=DGET(B6:F88,D3,C3:C4)`

Here, **B6:F88 **is the dataset starting from the column header name, **D3 **is the cell reference for the **Field **name, and **C3:C4 **is the range of **Criteria **with the header name for which we are looking for the value.

As a result, we are getting the correct **NTRP Rating **of** 3 **for the player

**Isabella Johnson**by using the

**Field**name as the name of the column.

Instead of using the former formula if we use the following formula,

`=DGET(B6:F88,5,C3:C4)`

where we have changed the **Field** argument to **5 **and we have got a similar correct result.

#### 3.2. VLOOKUP Function

You can try to look up the **NTRP Rating **value for the player **Isabella Johnson **among other players’ names in the dataset using **the VLOOKUP function**.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=VLOOKUP(C4,C6:F88,4,FALSE)`

Here, **C4 **is the **lookup **value, **C6:F88 **is the **table_array** starting from the column header name, **4 **is the **column index** number, and **FALSE **is for an **exact match**.

As a result, we are getting the correct **NTRP Rating **of** 3 **for the player

**Isabella Johnson**.

If we change the reference of the **column index **argument,

`=VLOOKUP(C4,C6:F88,D3,FALSE)`

Here, we have changed the **column index **argument to **D3 **to use the column name instead of the column number in the dataset.

As a result, we are getting the #REF! error.

### 4. Column Direction for Look Up Values in DGET vs VLOOKUP Functions in Excel

Generally, **the VLOOKUP function **looks up the value in the right direction but you can use **the DGET function **to look up the value in both directions.

#### 4.1. DGET Function

Using **the DGET function** we will try to look up the **NTRP Rating **by moving to the right direction and for gaining the **Player ID **we will move to the left direction. Here, in the dataset, the column containing the value for which we looking at other data has not to be in the first position.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=DGET(B6:F88,D3,C3:C4)`

Here, **B6:F88 **is the dataset starting from the column header name, **D3 **is the cell reference for the **Field **name, and **C3:C4 **is the range of **Criteria **with the header name for which we are looking for the value.

As a result, we are getting the correct **NTRP Rating **of** 4 **for the player

**Joe Patterson**by going from the column

**Player Name**to the right to the column

**NTRP Rating**.

- Use the following formula in cell
**E4**.

`=DGET(B6:F88,E3,C3:C4)`

Here, **B6:F88 **is the dataset starting from the column header name, **D3 **is the cell reference for the **Field **name, and **C3:C4 **is the range of **Criteria **with the header name for which we are looking for the value.

As a result, we are getting the correct **Player ID **of** #1007 **for the player

**Joe Patterson**by going from the column

**Player Name**to the left to the column

**Player ID**.

#### 4.2. VLOOKUP Function

Using **the VLOOKUP function** we will try to look up the **NTRP Rating **by moving in the right direction and for gaining the **Player ID **we will move to the left direction. Here, in the dataset, the column containing the value for which we looking at other data has to be in the first position.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=VLOOKUP(C4,C6:F88,4,FALSE)`

Here, **C4 **is the **lookup **value, **C6:F88 **is the **table_array** starting from the column header name, **4 **is the **column index** number, and **FALSE **is for an **exact match**.

As a result, we are getting the correct **NTRP Rating **of** 4 **for the player

**Joe Patterson**by going from the column

**Player Name**to the right to the column

**NTRP Rating**.

- Enter the following formula in cell
**E4**.

`=VLOOKUP(C4,B6:F88,1,FALSE)`

Here, **C4 **is the **lookup **value, **B6:F88 **is the **table_array** starting from the column header name, **1 **is the **column index** number, and **FALSE **is for an **exact match**.

As a result, we are getting **the #N/A error** for going from the column **Player Name **to the right to the column **Player ID**.

### 5. Importance of Unique Values

We will try to show the importance of unique values and the effect of duplicate values in a range for both the **DGET** and **VLOOKUP functions**.

#### 5.1. DGET Function

We will try to look up the **NTRP Rating **value for the player **Isabella Johnson **among other players’ names in the dataset using **the DGET function**. Here, we have this name twice in our main dataset.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=DGET(B6:F88,5,C3:C4)`

Here, **B6:F88 **is the dataset starting from the column header name, **5 **is the column number for the **Field **name, and **C3:C4 **is the range of **Criteria **with the header name for which we are looking for the value.

As a result, we are getting **the #NUM error **because of the duplicate names in the dataset.

#### 5.2. VLOOKUP Function

You can try to look up the **NTRP Rating **value for the player **Isabella Johnson **among other players’ names in the dataset using **the VLOOKUP function**.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=VLOOKUP(C4,C6:F88,4,FALSE)`

Here, **C4 **is the **lookup **value, **C6:F88 **is the **table_array** starting from the column header name, **4 **is the **column index** number, and **FALSE **is for an **exact match**.

As a result, we are getting the first **NTRP Rating **of** 3 **for the player

**Isabella Johnson**.

### 6. Getting Multiple Outputs in DGET vs VLOOKUP Functions in Excel

Using **the DGET function **you cannot get multiple outputs at a time, but you can do it by using **the VLOOKUP function**.

#### 6.1. DGET Function

We will try to look up the **Gender **and **Age** of the player **Eddie Fischer **among other players’ names in the dataset using **the DGET function**. As we can not do it at a time, we will do it twice.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=DGET(B6:F88,D3,C3:C4)`

Here, **B6:F88 **is the dataset starting from the column header name, **D3 **is the reference of the column name for the **Field **name, and **C3:C4 **is the range of **Criteria **with the header name for which we are looking for the value.

As a result, we are getting **Male **as ** Gender **for the player

**Eddie Fischer**.

- To extract the age enter the following formula in cell
**E4**.

`=DGET(B6:F88,E3,C3:C4)`

Here, **B6:F88 **is the dataset, **E3 **is the reference of the column name for the **Field **name, and **C3:C4 **is the range of **Criteria **with the header name for which we are looking the value.

As a result, we are getting **24 **as the ** Age **for the player

**Eddie Fischer**.

#### 6.2. VLOOKUP Function

We will try to look up the **Gender **and **Age** of the player **Eddie Fischer **among other players’ names in the dataset using **the VLOOKUP function** at a time.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**D4**.

`=VLOOKUP(C4,C6:F88,{2,3},FALSE)`

Here, **C4 **is the **lookup **value, **C6:F88 **is the **table_array** starting from the column header name, **4 **is the **column index** number, and **FALSE **is for an **exact match**.

As a result, we are getting **Male **as the **Gender **and **24 **as the **Age **for the player **Eddie Fischer**.

*Note:* For using any other versions except

*Microsoft Excel 365*you have to press

**CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER**instead of pressing

**ENTER.**

### 7. Looking up Multiple Criteria in DGET vs VLOOKUP Functions in Excel

Here, we will try to extract a value after checking multiple criteria by using these two functions.

#### 7.1. DGET Function

Here, we will check **Player ID #1007 **and

**Player Name, Joe Patterson**, while using

**the DGET function**to get the

**NTRP Rating**. Moreover, by using these two criteria you can avoid the error of duplicate values.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**E4**.

`=DGET(B6:F88,E3,C3:D4)`

Here, **B6:F88 **is the dataset starting from the column header name, **E3 **is the reference of the column name for the **Field **name, and **C3:D4 **is the range of **Criteria **with the header name for which we are looking for the value.

As a result, we are getting the **NTRP Rating **of **4 **for the player **Joe Patterson **with **ID #1007**.

#### 7.2. VLOOKUP Function

Here, we will check **Player ID #1007 **and

**Player Name, Joe Patterson**, while using

**the VLOOKUP function**to get the

**NTRP Rating**. Moreover, by using these two criteria you can avoid the error of duplicate values.

- Apply the following formula in cell
**E4**.

`=VLOOKUP(C4:D4,B6:F88,5,FALSE)`

Here, **C4:D4 **is the **lookup **value, **B6:F88 **is the **table_array** starting from the column header name, **5 **is the **column index** number, and **FALSE **is for an **exact match**.

As a result, we are getting the **NTRP Rating **of **4 **for the player **Joe Patterson **with **ID #1007** but besides this,

**the**

**#N/A error**is also shown.

** Note**: For using any other versions except

*Microsoft Excel 365*you have to press

**CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER**instead of pressing

**ENTER.**

## What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the DGET Function?

__Advantages__

- Doesnâ€™t depend on the direction or position of columns.
- It can handle multiple criteria and larger data sets with ease.

__Disadvantages__

- For any formula that you have to pull down throughout the cells, this function is not good for this case.
- It automatically works on an approximate match.

## What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of the VLOOKUP Function?

__Advantages__

- You can work with an exact match or an approximate match as per your requirement.
- This formula can be copied down easily.
- It is easy to learn, additionally, many Excel users are familiar with the function.

__Disadvantages__

- It depends on the direction or position of the columns.
**The VLOOKUP function**can be prone to errors in larger spreadsheets.

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## Conclusion

In this article, we tried to show the differences between the DGET vs VLOOKUP functions in Excel. Hope you will find it useful. If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to share them in the comment section.

**<< Go Back to Lookup | Formula List | Learn Excel**

Thank you very much, it’s interinsting

You are very welcome. Thank you for reading and doing Excel with us ðŸ™‚

This was well written and easy to understand. I must admit I was not familiar with DGET but I will try using it. Thanks!

You are most welcome. I’m glad you found the tutorial useful and yes the database functions are very helpful when it comes to looking up data with criteria ðŸ™‚

Thank you for the easy to understand and useful tutorial. Always look forward to your tutorials posted on this website.

Main disadvantage with INDEX/MATCH is that you have to repeat the same range twice which makes maintenance more of an issue (unless you only used named ranges)

Main disadvantage of DGET is that you can’t fill the query down a column to get multiple answers.

Thanks for your valuable input.

Best regards

Kawser Ahmed