You can use the **VLOOKUP** function in Excel to look up some value in a range and return a corresponding value.

This function uses the following syntax:

**VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])**

where:

**lookup_value**: The value you want to look up**table_array**: The range of cells to search for the lookup value**col_index_num**: The column number that contains the return value**range_lookup**: TRUE = approximate match, FALSE = exact match

Notice that the last argument allows you to specify **TRUE** to look for an approximate match of the value you want to look up or **FALSE** for an exact match.

The default value is **TRUE**, but in most cases you will want to use **FALSE** because this tells Excel that you want to find an exact match of the value you’re looking for.

When using **TRUE**, the **VLOOKUP** function will often return unexpected and inaccurate results.

The following examples show the difference between using **TRUE** and **FALSE** in the **VLOOKUP** function with the following dataset in Excel:

**Example 1: Using VLOOKUP with TRUE**

Suppose we use the following formula with **VLOOKUP** to look up the team names in column D and return the corresponding value from the points column:

**=VLOOKUP(D2, $A$2:$B$10, 2, TRUE)
**

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

Since we specified **TRUE** for the last argument in **VLOOKUP**, we specified that Excel should look for “approximate” matches for the team names.

Notice that none of the points values returned in column E match the team names from column D.

**Example 2: Using VLOOKUP with FALSE**

Suppose we use the following formula with **VLOOKUP** to look up the team names in column D and return the corresponding value from the points column:

**=VLOOKUP(D2, $A$2:$B$10, 2, FALSE)
**

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

Since we specified **FALSE **for the last argument in **VLOOKUP**, we told Excel to look for *exact* matches for the team names.

Notice that each of the points values returned in column E match the team names from column D.

By using FALSE, we were able to accurately find the team names in the original dataset and return their corresponding points value.

**Note**: When using **FALSE**, Excel will return **#N/A** if an exact match is not found.

**Additional Resources**

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

How to Compare Two Lists in Excel Using VLOOKUP

How to Find Unique Values from Multiple Columns in Excel

How to Filter Multiple Columns in Excel