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In my last post, I talked about why you might use the VLOOKUP feature. If you missed it, you can find it here. Today, I’m going to discuss the difference between VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP.

The two features are nearly identical. The difference between the two is in the orientation of your lookup data. Let me explain.

VLOOKUP stands for Vertical look-up. It works great when your look-up data is oriented vertically. Take a look at this example:

Notice that the names go down column A, and the commission rates go down column B. This data is oriented vertically, so you’d use the VLOOKUP function to gather data from it.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, HLOOKUP stands for Horizontal look-up. In this case, you’re data goes across the Excel sheet, rather than down. Here’s what that would look like:

Note that the sales rep names go across the row, rather than down. Likewise, the commission rates go across as well. This data is oriented horizontally, so you’d use the HLOOKUP feature to retrieve this data.

I hope this helps clarify the difference between the two functions. If you’ve got Excel questions, don’t hesitate to call me. I love to talk this stuff over with my fellow Excel geeks!

Need help implementing VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP? Sign up for a free consultation with me. This no-obligation meeting will last 20 to 30 minutes. We'll discuss the issues you're having, and if possible, I'll give you some quick advice to fix them. If that's not enough time, I'll create an estimate for working through the problems. To sign up, visit my Excel Help page.

About the Author

Kimberlee Martin is the owner of North Port Solutions and has 30 years of business experience. She's worked with several programming languages and database tools over the years, with her favorites being Microsoft Excel VBA, SQL Server, and Visual C#. Her passion is helping small businesses gain insights into their business with effective reporting and data management.

© 2020 North Port Solutions, LLC. All right reserved.

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