Let’s clarify what the **#N/A** error means. It stands for **Not Available**, indicating that the **VLOOKUP** function couldn’t find a match for the search.

Consider the **List of Employees and Departments** dataset shown in cells** B4:D14**. This dataset includes employee **IDs**, their **Names**, and the **D****epartments** where they work. Now, let’s explore each problem and its solution with relevant illustrations.

## Solution 1: Checking If the Lookup Value Exists

One common cause of the **VLOOKUP #N/A** error in Excel is when the lookup value isn’t present in the lookup array. In such cases, the function returns an **#N/A** error.

To resolve this, simply correct the value to get the desired results.

**Steps:**

- Start by entering the correct
**ID number**in cell**C18**. - Use the following formula:

`=VLOOKUP(C18,$B$5:$D$14,2,FALSE)`

Here, **C18** represents the ID number **1002**.

**Formula Breakdown:**

**VLOOKUP(C18,$B$5:$D$14,2,FALSE) →**searches for a value in the left-most column of the table array (**$B$5:$D$14**) and returns a value from the specified column in the same row. In this case, it matches**C18**(the lookup value) from the array and retrieves the corresponding**name**(column 2). The**FALSE**argument ensures an exact match.

**Output → Hans**

*Note: **Remember to use **absolute cell references **by pressing the** F4 **key on your keyboard.*

**Read More:** Why VLOOKUP Returns #N/A When Match Exists

## Solution 2: Correcting Mistyped Lookup Value

Another common error that frustrates users is a simple typo in the lookup value, resulting in the **#N/A** error. In the image below, the name “Milly” has been misspelled as “Milli.”

Thankfully, the fix is straightforward. Follow these steps:

**Steps:**

**Enter the Correct Name:**- Start by entering the correct name in cell
**C18**. - Insert the following formula in cell
**D18**:

- Start by entering the correct name in cell

`=VLOOKUP(C18,$C$5:$D$14,2,FALSE)`

For example, if the **C18** cell contains the name “Milly,” this formula will return the corresponding department.

**Formula Breakdown:**

**VLOOKUP(C18,$C$5:$D$14,2,FALSE) →**searches for the lookup value**(C18)**in the table array**($C$5:$D$14)**and retrieves the value from the**second column.**The**FALSE**argument ensures an**exact match.**

**Output → Operations**

**Read More:** [Fixed!] Excel VLOOKUP Not Returning Correct Value

## Solution 3: Referencing the Leftmost Column

Keep in mind that the **VLOOKUP** function cannot retrieve data from its left side. The lookup column must be the leftmost column; otherwise, the function returns the **#N/A** error.

**Steps:**

- To address this, navigate to cell
**D18**and enter the following formula in the**Formula Bar**:

`=VLOOKUP(C18,$C$5:$D$14,2,FALSE)`

This should display the correct result, which is the department of **Operations**.

**Alternative Approach: INDEX and MATCH Functions:**

- If you want to avoid worrying about the lookup column position, consider using the
**INDEX**and**MATCH**functions. - Enter the following formula in cell
**D18**:

`=INDEX(D5:D14,MATCH(C19,C5:C14,0))`

Here, the **C19** cell points to the name “Milly.”

**Formula Breakdown:**

**MATCH(C19, C5:C14, 0):**- The
**MATCH**function returns the relative position of an item in an array that matches the given value. - In this case:
**C19**is the lookup value, referring to the name “Milly.”**C5:C14**represents the lookup array where the value is searched.- The
**0**argument indicates an exact match.

**Output:**5

- The
**INDEX(D5:D14, MATCH(C19, C5:C14, 0)):**- The
**INDEX**function retrieves a value at the intersection of a row and column in a given range. - Here:
**D5:D14**is the array argument, representing the marks scored by the students.**5**`is the`

argument, indicating the row location (which corresponds to the department).*row_num*

**Output:**Operations

- The

Remember to use **absolute cell references** by pressing the **F4** key on your keyboard.

## Solution 4: Entering the Correct Data Formatting

The **VLOOKUP #N/A** Error often occurs due to modified formatting of the lookup value during import or by mistake. Specifically, a leading apostrophe can cause the data to be interpreted as text, as shown in the screenshot below.

To address this issue, follow these steps:

**Steps:**

**Remove the Apostrophe:**- Go to cell
**C18**. - Press the
**F2**key to enter**Edit**mode. - Remove any leading apostrophe or extra formatting.

- Go to cell

**Calculate the Correct Output:**- In cell
**D18**, use the following formula:

- In cell

`=VLOOKUP(C18,$B$5:$D$14,2,FALSE)`

- For example, if the
**C18**cell contains the ID number**1004**, this formula will return the corresponding name (e.g.,**Jules**).

## Solution 5: Removing Extra Space

The **VLOOKUP** formula may not work correctly if the lookup value contains extra spaces. To resolve this, we’ll use the **TRIM** function to eliminate any additional spaces within the lookup value.

**Steps:**

**Remove Spaces:**- Enter the
**D18**cell. - Type the following expression:

- Enter the

`=VLOOKUP(TRIM(C18),$C$5:$D$14,2,FALSE)`

- The
**TRIM**function removes all but single spaces from the text in the**C18**cell (e.g., “**Milly**“).

**Formula Breakdown:**

**TRIM(C18)**removes excess spaces after the text.- The modified formula becomes:

**VLOOKUP(“Milly”,$C$5:$D$14,2,FALSE)**

Here, **“Milly”** (**lookup_value** argument) is matched from the table array **($C$5:$D$14)**. The **2 (col_index_num** argument) represents the column number of the lookup value, and **FALSE** ensures an **exact match**.

**Output → Operations**

Remember to use **absolute cell references** by pressing the **F4** key on your keyboard.

## Solution 6: Using Absolute Cell Reference for the Table Array

Another potential cause of the **VLOOKUP** **#N/A** **Error** is neglecting to use **Absolute Cell References** for the table array. When you copy the formula using the **Fill Handle** tool, it shifts the cells of the lookup array. Consequently, the function may fail to match the lookup value within the given array.

Follow these steps to address this issue:

**Steps:**

**Apply Absolute Cell Reference:**- Go to cell
**D18**. - Use the following formula:

- Go to cell

`=VLOOKUP(C19,$C$5:$D$14,2,FALSE)`

For example, if the **C19** cell contains the name **Roman**, this formula will return the corresponding department.

*Note: **Press the F4 key on your keyboard to lock in the $C$5:$D$14 cell references.*

**Final Thoughts:**- While we strive for perfection, our world isn’t flawless! The methods mentioned above are all potential fixes for the
**VLOOKUP #N/A Error**. - If the problem persists, consider reaching out to
**Microsoft Support**. They have Excel experts who can provide tailored solutions for your specific issues.

- While we strive for perfection, our world isn’t flawless! The methods mentioned above are all potential fixes for the

## Specifying Appropriate Match Method in VLOOKUP Formula

Additionally, specifying the wrong match method in the **VLOOKUP** function can lead to incorrect output even if the data exists. Specifically, using the **TRUE** argument results in an approximate match condition, which matches the nearest value and may return an erroneous result.

In the following section, we’ll discuss how to troubleshoot this issue:

**Steps:**

**Exact Match Criteria:**- Go to the
**D18**cell. - Enter the following equation:

- Go to the

`=VLOOKUP(C18,$B$5:$D$14,2,FALSE)`

- Here, the
**FALSE**argument ensures an exact match in the**VLOOKUP**function.

## What to Do If VLOOKUP Function Is Not Returning Correct Value

You may need to verify whether Excel’s** Calculation Options** are set to **Manual**, as this setting can cause the **VLOOKUP** function to produce the same result when copied into cells below. Typically, this feature is designed to prevent unnecessary calculations and thereby avoid slowing down the computer. However, not reverting to the default **Automatic** option can lead to issues, as illustrated in the screenshot below.

**Steps:**

- Go to the
**Formulas**tab and click on the**Calculation Options**drop-down menu. - Ensure that the
**Automatic**option is selected. - You should see the correct output, as depicted in the image below.

**Download Practice Workbook**

You can download the practice workbook from here:

**Related Articles**

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