How to Vlookup using Dates in Excel?

Using VLOOKUP with dates in Excel allows you to search for a specific date within a table and return a value associated with that date. It operates just like a standard VLOOKUP function but uses dates as the lookup value. Here’s how to perform a VLOOKUP using dates in Excel:

Step 1: Organize Your Data

Ensure your data is organized in a table format, with the dates you want to search through in the first column, sorted in ascending order. Excel’s VLOOKUP function works best and most predictably when the first column of your lookup range is sorted in ascending order.

Step 2: Enter the VLOOKUP Formula

Click on the cell where you want the lookup result to appear. Start typing the VLOOKUP formula, which follows this syntax:

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

  • lookup_value: The date you are searching for. This can be a direct reference to a cell that contains the date, or you can enter the date directly into the formula using DATE(year,month,day), ensuring Excel recognizes it as a date value.
  • table_array: The range of cells containing your data, including the dates column and the values you want to retrieve.
  • col_index_num: The column number in the table_array from which to retrieve the value. The first column is 1, the second column is 2, and so on.
  • range_lookup: An optional argument where FALSE specifies you want an exact match and TRUE allows for an approximate match. For date lookups, it’s generally best to use FALSE to ensure accuracy.
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Example Formula

Assuming your dates are in column A (A1:A100), the values you want to retrieve are in column B (B1:B100), and the specific date you’re looking up is in cell D1, your formula would look like this:

=VLOOKUP(D1, A1:B100, 2, FALSE)

Step 3: Format the Lookup Date Correctly

If you’re entering the date directly into the formula, use the DATE function to ensure Excel interprets it correctly. For example:

=VLOOKUP(DATE(2023,1,15), A1:B100, 2, FALSE)

This looks up the value associated with January 15, 2023.

Step 4: Press Enter and Review the Result

After pressing Enter, Excel will display the value associated with the date you looked up. If Excel cannot find the date, it will return an error, usually #N/A.