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Making Vlookup Case Sensitive In Excel

Key Takeaway:

  • VLOOKUP is a powerful Excel function used to search and retrieve data from a table based on a specified criteria.
  • To make VLOOKUP case-sensitive, create a helper column using the EXACT or UPPER/LOWER function, which will compare the text string with the required case sensitivity.
  • To avoid errors when using VLOOKUP, ensure data is formatted correctly, eliminate extra spaces and debug using the F9 key.

Are you struggling to make VLOOKUP case sensitive in Excel? If so, this article provides simple steps to help you find the case-sensitive exact match without any hassle. You will be amazed at how quickly and easily you can achieve accurate results!

The Basics of VLOOKUP: Explanation and Syntax Overview

If you’ve ever wasted time with Excel, you know how annoying it can be to use VLOOKUP and not get the results you hoped for. So, let’s break down exactly what VLOOKUP is and how it works.

We’ll start with its definition and syntax, so you understand how it functions. Then, we’ll move onto mastering its syntax, so you can use it more effectively. Finally, you’ll be a VLOOKUP pro!

The Basics of VLOOKUP: Explanation and Syntax Overview-Making VLOOKUP Case Sensitive in Excel,

Image credits: by Adam Woodhock

Gain Understanding of VLOOKUP’s Definition

Gaining power from Excel needs understanding its features. One of these is VLOOKUP which stands for Vertical Lookup. It helps users to search for certain data in a large dataset and get a result from a certain column.

Let’s have an example. Say there is a table of sales records with columns for product ID, name, price, and quantity sold. To get the price of product ID: 105 without searching manually, use VLOOKUP.

An example table:

Product ID Product Name Price
101 Laptop $700
102 Smartphone $400
103 Camera $300
104 Gaming Chair $200
105 Watch $150

But, VLOOKUP works based on exact matches only. If the value is written differently, it might not work. To fix this, add FALSE as the fourth argument in the formula after the lookup value and table range.

Now, let’s learn how to use VLOOKUP.

Master VLOOKUP’s Syntax

To understand VLOOKUP’s syntax, you have to be aware of its structure and how to use it. A key component is the lookup value – the value you’re trying to match in your table. You also need to know the table array, column index number, and range lookup arguments.

We can better comprehend VLOOKUP by breaking it down into a table:

Argument Description
Lookup value The value you search for in the first column of the table array.
Table array The range of cells where VLOOKUP should search for your data.
Column index number The column number (starting from 1) within the table array from which you want to return a value.
Range lookup A logical value that determines an exact or approximate match.

By understanding each argument and its function, you can use VLOOKUP more effectively.

Many Excel users find VLOOKUP difficult at first, as they may not know its structure or how it works. With practice and study, anyone can become proficient in VLOOKUP.

Next topic: Making VLOOKUP Case-Sensitive.

How to Make VLOOKUP Case-Sensitive

Have you ever used VLOOKUP in Excel, only to find out it’s not case sensitive? Annoying! There are three ways to make VLOOKUP case sensitive.

  1. First, we’ll look into creating a helper column.
  2. Second, we can use the EXACT function.
  3. Third, the UPPER/LOWER function.

Let’s get started!

How to Make VLOOKUP Case-Sensitive-Making VLOOKUP Case Sensitive in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Woodhock

Create a Helper Column to Achieve Case Sensitivity

  1. Insert a new column next to the lookup table.
  2. Enter the formula =LOWER(A2) or =UPPER(A2) in the first cell of the column.
  3. Copy the formula down the entire column.
  4. Replace the original search value with the formula in the helper column.
  5. Adjust the VLOOKUP range by changing absolute cell references to relative.

With this helper column, VLOOKUP will compare strings based on upper/lower cases. It may not be practical for large data sets or frequent updates.

Until 2019, Excel didn’t have native case-sensitive lookups. That’s when Microsoft released XLOOKUP and XMATCH which do. Prior to this, users had to use creative workarounds.

Next, learn how to achieve case sensitivity without creating additional columns – using the EXACT Function.

Achieve Case Sensitivity with the EXACT Function

Cases sensitivity is a must-have for accurate Excel report generation. To make sure you get precise results, you can use the EXACT function with VLOOKUP. Here’s how:

  1. Open up your spreadsheet, and go to the cell where you want the formula.
  2. Type “=” to start.
  3. Then type “EXACT(” followed by the cell reference for your lookup value.
  4. After that, add a comma and then the cell reference for table array.
  5. Close the brackets and press Enter.
  6. Finally, set the range lookup argument to FALSE for exact match.

The EXACT function helps VLOOKUP differentiate between uppercase and lowercase, so it can search for precise matches. Plus, you can’t use UPPER or LOWER functions on lookup_value, as this alters the case before searching.

Tom, a software developer, almost made a mistake while working on an Excel sheet due to uppercase/lowercase issues. His supervisor needed an overview of employee records. He used VLOOKUP, but with no case sensitivity. Luckily, he used EXACT with VLOOKUP and avoided errors in his report.

If needed, you can further use UPPER/LOWER functions to fix data not cased correctly or for display purposes.

Achieve Case Sensitivity with the UPPER/LOWER Function

To make VLOOKUP case-sensitive, use UPPER/LOWER function. Follow this 3-step guide for success:

  1. In a new cell, convert your lookup value to either all uppercase or lowercase.
  2. Do the same to the table array by selecting all cells and using the same formula.
  3. Use these converted values as arguments in your VLOOKUP formula.

This ensures consistent capitalization, matching exactly without being case-sensitive.

Pro tip: Create a helper column alongside your Table Array and apply the same logic. Reference this helper column to save time and prevent errors.

Troubleshoot VLOOKUP to Avoid Errors

Working with Excel? VLOOKUP is a go-to for data searches. When handling big data sets, however, errors can pop up. These can be prevented if VLOOKUP is case sensitive. Let’s look at how to fix this. To nix errors, check formatting, remove spaces and debug VLOOKUP with the F9 key. Problem solved!

Troubleshoot VLOOKUP to Avoid Errors-Making VLOOKUP Case Sensitive in Excel,

Image credits: by David Washington

Ensure Data is Formatted Correctly

Formatting data correctly is vital for accurate VLOOKUP usage. Here are few key points to remember:

  • Lookup values should be formatted as text, particularly if they contain numbers like phone numbers or zip codes.
  • No leading, trailing, or double spaces in lookup and table arrays. These can impact matching accuracy.
  • Check dates and times are formatted and recognized by Excel. Otherwise, they won’t match table array values.
  • Format numbers consistently in the table array. Different formats can cause inaccurate results.

Formatting data properly and consistently minimizes VLOOKUP errors. Studies show 88% of spreadsheets have errors due to formatting inconsistencies.

Improve VLOOKUP accuracy by getting rid of extra spaces. Use Excel’s TRIM function or manually remove spaces with find & replace. This stops false negatives and incorrect results.

Eliminate Extra Spaces to Avoid Issues

Eliminating extra spaces is essential to avoid errors when using VLOOKUP in Excel. These gaps can lead to incorrect values or mismatches, causing discrepancies in the data.

Here are how extra spaces can affect VLOOKUP:

  • Leading or trailing spaces for lookup values can cause mismatches.
  • Leading or trailing spaces for array column can cause wrong results.
  • Extra spaces within lookup value itself will return #N/A error.

To prevent this, use the TRIM function. It removes any leading, trailing spaces and other gaps between words. It also helps make the range consistent if the spacing between two adjacent cells is insufficient. Additionally, check formula settings for elements like tab space ( ), soft break lines etc.

Although it may seem like an easy task, small mistakes can lead to major problems and waste valuable time when trying to locate them afterwards. Pay attention when entering data into cells and double-check for unwanted extras. Don’t let faulty formulas caused by an extra space ruin opportunities. Take the time to eliminate these issues from the start when working with VLOOKUP.

Lastly, use the F9 key to easily debug VLOOKUP.

Debug VLOOKUP with Ease Using F9 Key


Press F9 to evaluate your formula, step-by-step! Highlight the VLOOKUP and give it a whack – Excel will replace it with its result. This process can be repeated to narrow down the source of any errors. F9 can give you more info on the error too!

For complex array formulas, check intermediate results with F9. Microsoft Excel has features that make calculations simpler – take a few minutes to explore them and see how they can help your workflow.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Excel first appeared on Macintosh computers in 1985? It was only two years later, in 1987, that it was released for PCs. (Source:

Some Facts About Making VLOOKUP Case Sensitive in Excel:

  • ✅ VLOOKUP is a commonly used function in Excel for finding and returning data from a table. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ By default, VLOOKUP is not case sensitive, meaning that it will return results regardless of capitalization. (Source: Excel Campus)
  • ✅ To make VLOOKUP case sensitive, the EXACT function can be used to compare the lookup value and the table array value. (Source: Ablebits)
  • ✅ Another option for making VLOOKUP case sensitive is to use a combination of INDEX and MATCH functions instead. (Source: Contextures)
  • ✅ Making VLOOKUP case sensitive can prevent errors and ensure more accurate data retrieval. (Source: Exceljet)

FAQs about Making Vlookup Case Sensitive In Excel

What is VLOOKUP in Excel?

VLOOKUP is a function in Excel that allows you to search for a specific value in a table and return matching values from another column.

How can you make VLOOKUP case sensitive in Excel?

By default, VLOOKUP in Excel is not case sensitive. However, you can use a combination of functions such as INDEX, MATCH, and EXACT to make it case sensitive.

What is the syntax for a case-sensitive VLOOKUP formula in Excel?

The syntax for a case-sensitive VLOOKUP formula in Excel is =INDEX(return_range,MATCH(TRUE,EXACT(lookup_value,lookup_range),0),match_column).

Can you use VLOOKUP to search through multiple sheets in Excel?

Yes, you can use VLOOKUP to search through multiple sheets in Excel. You can use the syntax =VLOOKUP(lookup_value,Sheet1!table_array,col_index_num,FALSE), where “Sheet1” is the name of the sheet you want to search through.

What are some common errors you may encounter when using a case-sensitive VLOOKUP formula in Excel?

Common errors when using a case-sensitive VLOOKUP formula in Excel include #N/A errors when a match is not found, and #VALUE! errors when the lookup value is not a text string.

Can you use wildcard characters in a case-sensitive VLOOKUP formula in Excel?

Yes, you can use wildcard characters such as asterisks (*) and question marks (?) in a case-sensitive VLOOKUP formula in Excel. However, you will need to use a combination of EXACT and SUBSTITUTE functions to accommodate for these characters.