# How to Use VLOOKUP Function to Compare Two Lists in Excel

Here we have a dataset of equipment lists for two gyms. We will compare the lists using the VLOOKUP function.

### Method 1 – Compare Two Lists in the Same Sheet Using the VLOOKUP Function in Excel

We will compare whether the equipment from Gym 2 is present within the Gym 1 equipment list.

#### Part 1 – Basic Steps

• Insert the following formula in Cell H6.
`=VLOOKUP(E6,\$B\$6:\$B\$17,1,0)`
• Press Enter.

In the formula, we have set the element from Gym 2 as lookup_value and the equipment from Gym 1 as lookup_array. This will return the equipment name when it is found within the Gym 1box.

Note: When equipment has been found within Gym 1, the formula returns that item. But when not found? It returned the #N/A (Not Available) error.

#### Part 2 – Use the ISNA Function for Error Handling

ISNA checks whether a value is #N/A, and returns TRUE or FALSE.

• Use the following formula in Cell H6.
`=ISNA(VLOOKUP(E6,\$B\$6:\$B\$17,1,0))`
• Press Enter.
• Use the Fill Handle to copy the formula in the following cells.
• We will see the result in every cell as True or False.

Note: Instead of the product name, this formula will return FALSE when it finds the item within the list and will return True when it doesn’t find the item.

#### Part 3 – Apply an Additional NOT Function to Clarify Results

• Use the following formula in Cell H6.
`=NOT(ISNA(VLOOKUP(E6,\$B\$6:\$B\$17,1,0)))`
• Press Enter and use the Fill Handle to copy the formula in the following cells.
• This will return TRUE when the item is found within the list and for comparing a value that is not within the list the formula will return FALSE.

#### Part 4 – Insert the IF Function for Inputting Text Value

• Use the following formula in Cell H6 and press Enter.
`=IF(NOT(ISNA(VLOOKUP(E6,\$B\$6:\$B\$17,1,0))),"Found","Not Found")`
• Use the Fill Handle to copy the formula in the following cells.
• This will put Found or Not Found in every cell rather than the Boolean values.

• In the condition check field of IF, we have inserted the previously used NOT-ISNA-VLOOKUP formula.
• We have set “Found” and “Not Found” as the if_true_value and if_false_value respectively.
• When the condition is TRUE (equipment is in the list) the formula will return “Found.
• And when the condition is FALSE (equipment is not in the list) the formula will return “Not Found.

### Method 2 – Compare Two Lists in Different Sheets Using the VLOOKUP Function in Excel

Here we have Gym 1 equipment in the Gym 1 sheet, while the items for Gym 2 are in sheet M2.

We will compare the values in the second sheet.

Steps:

• Open the sheet where we will do the comparison.
• In Cell E5, use the following formula.
`=IF(NOT(ISNA(VLOOKUP(B5,'Gym 1'!\$B\$5:\$B\$16,1,0))),"Found","Not Found")`
• Press Enter and use the Fill Handle to copy the formula in the following cells.

Note:

• We are comparing in the M2 sheet, so we need to provide this sheet name, but the lookup_array value is in the separate sheet Gym 1. That is we need to provide the sheet name so that, Excel can understand where to find it.
• After providing the sheet name make sure to insert an exclamatory sign (!). And if the sheet name has multiple words then put the name within a single quote (”).

## An Alternative for VLOOKUP for Comparing Two Lists in Excel

Instead of VLOOKUP, we can use the COUNTIF function.

• Use the following formula in Cell H6.
`=IF(COUNTIF(\$B\$6:\$B\$17,E6)<>0,"Found","Not Found")`
• Press Enter and use the Fill Handle to copy the formula in the following cells.

• Within the COUNTIF we have checked whether occurrences of the lookup value are not equal to 0 or not.
• If not 0 (means the product presents in the list), then it returns “Found”, otherwise “Not Found”.

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Shakil Ahmed

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