We use Both Excel **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** functions to lookup values in datasets to bring out values from desired column and range. Though **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** work similarly in their outcomes, they differ in operability. In this article, we discuss Excel **LOOKUP** vs **VLOOKUP** functions mentioning the differences and interchangeability between them.

Suppose, we have a dataset of *Product Sales*. We want to look up any value in selected columns or ranges using **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** to demonstrate the differences among them.

**Dataset for Download**

You are welcome to download the workbook from the link below.

**Basics of LOOKUP & VLOOKUP**

__LOOKUP Function:__

The syntax of the** LOOKUP** **function** is

`LOOKUP(lookup_value, lookup_vector, [result_vector])`

Or

`LOOKUP(lookup_value,array)`

In the syntax,

**lookup_value; **the value you want to look for.

**lookup_vector; **the single row or column where the **lookup_value** exists.

**[result_vector](Optional); **equal size to **lookup_vector**, the single row or column from where the resultant value is extracted. The function returns 1st column data in case of its absence.

**array; **it extracts the value matching the **lookup_value** from the range.

__VLOOKUP ____Function:__

The syntax of the** VLOOKUP** function is

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

In the syntax,

**lookup_value; **the value you want to look for.

**table_array; **the table or range in where you search the **lookup_value** .

**col_index_num; **the column number from where the **lookup_value** is to be extracted.

**[range_lookup]; **declares lookup match status. **TRUE-Approximate Match**, **FALSE-Exact Match.**

**Read More:** **What Is a Table Array in VLOOKUP? (Explained with Examples)**

**Excel LOOKUP vs VLOOKUP Function**

**1. Dealing with Approximate Match**

One of the main differences between **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** **functions** is that the **LOOKUP** function is bound to an **Approximate** **Match**. Where **VLOOKUP** offers both **Approximate** and **Exact** matches.

➤**LOOKUP** automatically fetches approximate matches from lookup_arrar (i.e., **B4:B16**)

**➤VLOOKUP **offers an approximate or exact match option to fetch a value from col_index_num.

__Performing LOOKUP Function__

The formula we use in the **Lookup result** cell is

` =LOOKUP(H4,B4:B16,C4:C16)`

Here,

**H4; **is the** lookup_value.**

**B4:B16;** is the** lookup_vector.**

**C4:C16; **is the** [result_vector].**

From the dataset, we want a return value for any random **lookup_value** (i.e., **Chocolate**). But we don’t have any entries of that kind still the** LOOKUP** formula returns a value. Obviously, the resultant value is wrong. The **LOOKUP** formula fetches the approximate value matches with the **lookup_value** (i.e., **Chocolate**).

__Performing VLOOKUP Function__

The Formula used in the **Vlookup result** cell is

`=VLOOKUP(H11,B4:E16,2,FALSE)`

Here,

**H11;** is the** lookup_value.**

**B4:E16; **is the** table_array.**

**2; **is the** col_index_num.**

**FALSE;** is the** [range_lookup].**

Similar to the **LOOKUP** formula, we use the **VLOOKUP** formula to fetch the resultant value from a selected column number. It returns **#N/A** as there is no such entry.

Both **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP **function’s results in one picture give you a complete sense of the **LOOKUP** function’s limitation to approximate match.

Now, it can be said that restricted by **Default Approximate Match**, the **LOOKUP** function lags behind the **VLOOKUP** function.

**Read More:** **Why VLOOKUP Returns #N/A When Match Exists? (5 Causes & Solutions)**

**Similar Readings**

**How to Apply Double VLOOKUP in Excel (4 Quick Ways)****VLOOKUP Not Working (8 Reasons & Solutions)****INDEX MATCH vs VLOOKUP Function (9 Examples)****VLOOKUP and Return All Matches in Excel (7 Ways)****Use VLOOKUP with Multiple Criteria in Excel (6 Methods + Alternatives)**

**2. Performing Both-Directional Operation**

The **LOOKUP** function searches and matches values in both directions **left to right** or **right to left**. However, the **VLOOKUP** function does only **left to right** search to match. More specifically for **VLOOKUP,** the **lookup_value** must be in the left to the columns it fetches the resultant values from.

➤**LOOKUP** allows left to right or right to left operability. It matches **lookup_value** to rows or columns simultaneously.

**➤VLOOKUP **only allows left to right operability. It matches** lookup_value** to columns only.

__Performing LOOKUP Function__

The formula we use in the **Lookup Result** cell is

` =LOOKUP(H4,C4:C16,B4:B16)`

Here,

**H4; **is the** lookup_value.**

**C4:C16;** is the** lookup_vector.**

**B4:B16; **is the** [result_vector].**

** **In the dataset, we want a return value for any random **lookup_value** (i.e.,**57**). We use the **LOOKUP** function to come up with the result and it comes up with the exact result (i.e., **Bran**). As the **LOOKUP** function operates in both directions it’s able to fetch the **[result_vector].**

__Performing VLOOKUP Function__

The formula we use in the **Vlookup Result** cell is

` =VLOOKUP(H11,B4:E16,1,FALSE)`

Here,

**H11;** is the** lookup_value.**

**B4:E16; **is the** table_array.**

**1; **is the** col_index_num.**

**FALSE;** is the** [range_lookup].**

Like the **LOOKUP** formula, the **VLOOKUP** formula fetches the resultant value from a selected column number (i.e.,**1**). It returns **#N/A** as it’s unable to look up for return value in columns that are left to the **lookup_value. **Here, the **col_index_num** (i.e.,**1**) is left to the **lookup_value** column (i.e.,**2**).

You can simply differentiate the **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** function’s directional operability just by looking at the image below.

So, the **LOOKUP** function is multidimensional considering its operability where the **VLOOKUP** function stumbles.

**Read More:** **7 Types of Lookup You Can Use in Excel**

**3. Interchangeable LOOKUP and VLOOKUP**

Both **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** functions generate lookup results in similar ways apart from looking directions. We can use them interchangeably in most cases.

From the syntax, we can see the **LOOKUP** function is simple and returns values from looking into **lookup_vector**. The **VLOOKUP** function also does that but in a complex way. The **VLOOKUP** function returns values from the column specified in the argument.

__Performing LOOKUP Function__

The formula used in **Lookup Result** is

`=LOOKUP(H4,B4:B16,C4:C16)`

In the formula,

**H4; **is the** lookup_value.**

**B4:B16;** is the** lookup_vector.**

**C4:C16; **is the** [result_vector].**

You get** 57** as a result. If you cross-check the value in the *Quantity* column, you get the entry the same as the result.

So, simply we can say the **LOOKUP** formula returns with the right result.

__Performing VLOOKUP Function__

The formula we use in the **Vlookup Result** cell is

` =VLOOKUP(H11,B4:E16,2,FALSE)`

In the formula,

**H11;** is the** lookup_value.**

**B4:E16; **is the** table_array.**

**2; **is the** col_index_num.**

**FALSE;** is the** [range_lookup].**

** **Same as the **LOOKUP** formula, **VLOOKUP** returns** 57** as a result. And you simply say by looking that the resultant value is correct.

From the following picture, you can find the interchanging behavior among **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** functions.

Performing both **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** functions, we simply say both are similar in their offerings and provide exact same results.

**Read More: ****How to Lookup Multiple Values in Excel (10 Ways)**

**Conclusion**

The **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP** are similar in providing results considering respective directions. Though the** LOOKUP** function is multidimensional and easier to apply than the **VLOOKUP** function. However, in the case of an exact match** VLOOKUP** function stands unique. Hope the above-discussed examples clarify your confusion. Comment if you have further inquiries or have something to add.

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