We use Both Excel LOOKUP and **VLOOKUP** functions to look up values in datasets to bring out values from the 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.

**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 which 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.**

**Excel LOOKUP vs VLOOKUP Function: 3 Easy Examples**

**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. Whereas **VLOOKUP** offers both Approximate and Exact matches.

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

**âž¤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

`Â =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 donâ€™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 that 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 the **LOOKUP** and **VLOOKUP **functions in one picture give you a complete sense of the **LOOKUP** functionâ€™s limitation to approximate match.

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

**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 on the left of the columns it fetches the resultant values from.

âž¤**LOOKUP** allows left-to-right or right-to-left operability. It matches **lookup_value** to rows or columns simultaneously.

**âž¤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

`Â =LOOKUP(H4,C4:C16,B4:B16)`

Here,

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

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

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

**Â **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 itâ€™s able to fetch the [result_vector].

__Performing VLOOKUP Function__

The formula we use in the Vlookup Result cell is

`Â =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 itâ€™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** functionsâ€™ 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: **XLOOKUP vs VLOOKUP 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

`Â =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].**

**Â **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: **INDEX MATCH vs VLOOKUP Function

**Dataset for Download**

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

**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, the** 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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