Troubleshooting VLOOKUP Formula Display Issue

The VLOOKUP function in Excel is a useful tool for searching for values in a table. However, there are instances when the VLOOKUP formula displays the formula itself rather than the expected result. Here’s how to resolve this issue:

Check Cell Format

First, examine the cell format where the VLOOKUP formula resides. If the cell is formatted as “Text,” the formula will always show itself. To adjust the cell format, select the cell and visit the Home tab. In the Number section, pick the desired format.

Verify Formula Accuracy

Double-click the cell with the formula to view it in the Formula bar. Ensure that all formula arguments are correct, and the cell references point to the intended cells.

Enable Show Formulas

If issues persist, consider enabling the Show Formulas option, found in the Formulas tab. This reveals all formulas in the worksheet, aiding in troubleshooting.

Additional Checks

  • Verify if the VLOOKUP function is enabled by going to the Formulas tab.
  • Ensure the table array is a range of cells, not just a single cell.
  • Confirm that the column index number falls within the range of 1 to the number of columns in the table array.
  • If using the approximate match option and no exact match is found, VLOOKUP returns the closest match.

Bonus Fixes

Use the Evaluate Formula Button

Employ the Evaluate Formula button to step through the VLOOKUP formula and understand each part’s function.

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Error Checking Feature

Utilize the Error Checking feature to identify and rectify errors within formulas.

By following these steps and considering the bonus fixes, your VLOOKUP formula should no longer display itself, presenting the desired results instead.