By default, the **VLOOKUP** function in Excel is only able to return values to the right of the lookup value.

To instead return values to the left of the lookup value, you must use the **XLOOKUP** function.

The following example shows how to use this function in practice.

**Example: How to Use VLOOKUP to the Left in Excel**

Suppose we have the following dataset in Excel that shows the points scored by various basketball players:

Suppose we use the following formula with **VLOOKUP** to look up the team “Kings” in column A and return the corresponding points value in column B:

**=VLOOKUP("Kings", A2:B11, 2, FALSE)
**

The following screenshot shows how to use this formula in practice:

Since the value we wanted to return was to the right of the lookup value, the formula was able to correctly return **13**.

However, suppose the points column was to the left of the team column and we tried to use **VLOOKUP** to return the points value:

Since the value we wanted to return was to the left of the lookup value, the **VLOOKUP** function returned **#N/A**.

Instead, we must use the **XLOOKUP** function with the following syntax:

**=XLOOKUP("Kings", B2:B11, A2:A11)
**

The following screenshot shows how to use this formula in practice:

The **XLOOKUP** function returns the value **13**, which is the correct points value that corresponds to the “Kings” in the team column.

**Note**: You can find the complete documentation for the **XLOOKUP** function in Excel here.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common operations in Excel:

Excel: How to Use XLOOKUP From Another Sheet

Excel: How to Use XLOOKUP to Return All Matches

Excel: How to Use XLOOKUP with Multiple Criteria