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New and improved, XLOOKUP for Excel

Published: October 7, 2019

Microsoft has announced that the iconic VLOOKUP function for Excel will be replaced by XLOOKUP.

For 34 years VLOOKUP has been a staple function in Excel with many users using the mastering of it a milestone in their spreadsheeting abilities.

What is XLOOKUP?
XLOOKUP is able to look both vertically and horizontally and in its simplest form only needs three arguments to perform an exact lookup – that’s on fewer than VLOOKUP (and HLOOKUP). So the formula looks something like this:

XLOOKUP (lookup_value, lookup_array, return_array)

Advanced XLOOKUP variations
XLOOKUP also has fourth and fifth mode arguments that allow you to perform advanced lookups: match_mode and search_mode.

Why is XLOOKUP better?
1) It defaults to an exact match, which was not VLOOKUP’s default behaviour.
2) It supports column insertions and deletions, which VLOOKUP’s third argument disallowed.
3) Circumvents the need to rearrange data, with XLOOKUP you can return values from a column to the left.
4) You no longer need to reverse the order of your data to find the last occurrence.
5) Can search for the next larger item and the next smaller item.
6) Using lookup_array rather than table_array means you no longer have to reference more cells then you really need for your calculation, increasing the performance of your spreadsheets.

For more information on XLOOKUP and its full capabilities, read this useful article by ExcelJet.

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