Excel XLOOKUP Function

Excel XLOOKUP Function was added into Excel as a beta feature in August 2019 and is now accessible exclusively in Microsoft 365. (as of July 2021). However, if you fall into this category and often deal with big sets of data in Excel, understanding this method is worthwhile. In this lesson, we will demonstrate how to use the XLOOKUP function to significantly simplify your data search.

What exactly is Excel XLOOKUP formula?

The Excel XLOOKUP function is a member of the family of lookup and reference functions. It is one of the most helpful features of Microsoft’s famous spreadsheet program. XLOOKUP is the simplest method for finding particular data items inside a cell range. The items included inside a previously set cell range are formatted. Does this sound familiar? The VLOOKUP function likewise operates on this concept. However, the more versatile Excel-XLOOKUP function allows you to look up not just one, but several items. Additionally, you may search for values vertically and horizontally inside your sheet.

In practice, what does this mean? Consider the following scenario: you have a digital client database in the form of an Excel file and are seeking for the address and phone number of a certain individual. With XLOOKUP, you can now search for related items by name and instantly see the needed information. It makes no difference if the sought data are included in a column, row, or table on another page. This indicates that the XLOOKUP function supersedes not only the VLOOKUP but also the HLOOKUP functions.

XLOOKUP syntax Function

The syntax of the XLOOKUP function is identical to those of VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP. If you’ve ever used them, you’ll appreciate how much more convenient XLOOKUP is. The following is the Excel syntax for the XLOOKUP function:

=XLOOKUP(lookup value, lookup array, return array, [if not found], [match mode], [search mode])

The XLOOKUP function accepts up to six parameters, the values of which are shown below.

  • lookup value (required): the value you’re looking for.
  • lookup array (required): the array in which the lookup value should be located.
  • return array (required): the array from which you want to retrieve and return the values when the lookup value is discovered.
  • [if not found] (optional): If no match is discovered, this value is returned.
  • [match mode] (optional): This option specifies the sort of match that you are searching for. There are several ways to specify it:
  • 0 – It searches for an exact match, and the result must precisely match the lookup array value. When not specified, it is also set as the default.
  • -1 – It searches for an exact match and then returns to the next lower value.
  • 1 – It searches for an exact match and then advances to the next bigger number.
  • 2 – It performs partial matches using wildcards, where the characters *,?, and have particular significance.

[search mode] (optional): Used to specify the lookup array’s XLOOKUP search mode. There are several ways to specify the same thing:

  • 1– Begin the search with the first item. When nothing is supplied, it is defaulted to default.
  • -1 – Conducts a reverse search, beginning with the last item.
  • 2 – Conducts a binary search in the lookup array in which the data must be sorted ascending. If the data is not properly organized, it may result in mistakes or incorrect outcomes.
  • 2 – Conducts a binary search in the lookup array, sorting the data in ascending order. If the data is not properly organized, it may result in mistakes or incorrect outcomes.

XLOOKUP’s Advantages and Disadvantages In Excel, the XLOOKUP function retains some of its benefits over VLOOKUP and INDEX/MATCH. However, it does have certain drawbacks.

The XLOOKUP Function’s Advantages

  1. It operates in both vertical and horizontal directions.
  2. Three inputs are required, rather than the four required by the VLOOKUP and INDEX MATCH methods.
  3. By default, an exact match is used.
  4. Utilize wildcards to conduct partial match lookups.
  5. Can execute descending order lookups.

INDEX MATCH now uses a single function rather than two.

The XLOOKUP Function’s Drawbacks

  1. Optional arguments may seem complicated to novices.
  2. Can take longer when two ranges are selected and the spreadsheet has an excessive number of cells.
  3. When the lookup and array results are not the same length, an error is returned.
  4. Both lookup and return ranges must be remembered.

How to Use Excel’s XLOOKUP Function

The XLOOKUP function is comparable to Excel’s LOOKUP function. XLOOKUP may be used by simply specifying the cell references for the function to act on.

Alternatively, you may utilize the top-level “Formula bar” box to input the XLOOKUP function syntax.

What makes XLOOKUP superior?

XLOOKUP simplifies and reduces the likelihood of errors in Excel’s most frequently used formulas. Simply type =XLOOKUP(what you're looking for, the list, the result list) and you’ll receive the result (or a #N/A error if the value is not found).

By default, this function looks for an exact match: One of the drawbacks of VLOOKUP is that you must provide FALSE as the last argument in order to get the right result. XLOOKUP corrects this by defaulting to precise matches. If desired, you may alter the lookup behavior using the match mode option.

The fourth parameter is used to accommodate the value not found situation. To suppress errors in the majority of business cases, we are compelled to encapsulate our lookup formulae with IFERROR or IFNA formulas. XLOOKUP has a fourth argument (described in further detail below) that allows you to choose the default output to use if your value is not found.

XLOOKUP includes extra parameters for searching for unusual circumstances. You may search from the top or bottom of a list, use wildcards, or use quicker alternatives for searching sorted lists.

It outputs a reference, not the value. While this may seem insignificant to casual Excel users, professional Excel users’ eyes light up when they find a formula that returns references. That is, you may mix XLOOKUP results with other formulae in novel ways.

It’s so much cooler to type; all you have to do is type =XL. I’m not sure whether this is a lucky coincidence, but saying =XL generates this formula.

Related Functions

  • Excel IFERROR function
    The Excel IFERROR function returns an alternate value you specify if a formula results in an error, or returns the result of the formula.The syntax of the IFERROR function is as below:= IFERROR (value, value_if_error)….
  • Excel VLOOKUP function
    The Excel VLOOKUP function lookup a value in the first column of the table and return the value in the same row based on index_num position.The syntax of the VLOOKUP function is as below:= VLOOKUP (lookup_value, table_array, column_index_num,[range_lookup])….
  • Excel INDEX function
    The Excel INDEX function returns a value from a table based on the index (row number and column number)The INDEX function is a build-in function in Microsoft Excel and it is categorized as a Lookup and Reference Function.The syntax of the INDEX function is as below:= INDEX (array, row_num,[column_num])…
  • Excel MATCH  function
    The Excel MATCH function search a value in an array and returns the position of that item.The MATCH function is a build-in function in Microsoft Excel and it is categorized as a Lookup and Reference Function.The syntax of the MATCH function is as below:= MATCH  (lookup_value, lookup_array, [match_type])….