It all started when spreadsheet guide Bill Jelen (aka MrExcel) declared that 25-31 March would be VLOOKUP Week.
Perhaps because the idea has happened before (Chandoo staged a similar online event in 2010), the Excel MVP community responded enthusiastically with several others weighing in with their contributions. The Microsoft Excel Blog team got in on the act and reported that VLOOKUP Week took on a life of its own.
“Bill finds himself with VLOOKUP t-shirts, coffee mugs, and a theme song and logo,” the blog reported.
A shark was selected as the logo for VLOOKUP week because VLOOKUP “strikes terror into the hearts of Excel beginners”, reported Debra Dalgleish on her Contextures blog, which celebrated the occasion by demonstrating how the function could be used to analyse shark attack data in the USA.
Since lookups are one of the most popular topics in ExcelZone, we thought we’d join in the fun too. If you fancy an afternoon (or weekend?) of VLOOKUP education and exploration, here are some of the goodies available:
- VLOOKUP Week blog - maintained by Bill Jelen, but including contributions from numerous other Excel MVPs
- IF statements & LOOKUPS - Advice from MVP Christopher “Smitty” on how to use IF statements, and when you should use more robust functions such as LOOKUP, VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP & INDEX/MATCH.
- You asked about VLOOKUP - A round-up of Microsoft’s resources on the subject from Annelise Wirth
- MrExcel VLOOKUP Week tutorials - from Bill’s YouTube channel
- Contextures VLOOKUP video tutorials - the Debra Dalgleish collection
- VLOOKUP left - A guest VLOOKUP Week blog post from long-time AccountingWEB member Richard Schollar on how to use VLOOKUP if your table data holds the lookup value in a column to the right of the data column you want to return
- Cascading validation lists - This tutorial from ExcelUser.com’s Bill Pinto won the Great White Shark Award from Bill Jelen for the most innovative post of VLOOKUP Week. Pinto also published a handy back to basics tutorial on how to use VLOOKUP to get one value based on another
- Vlookup tricks: the wild side of VLOOKUP - tips such as using wildcard characters in your lookups from Leamington Spa based MVP Charles Williams
- Chandoo’s archive - from the original VLOOOKUP week in November 2010.
- ExcelZone VLOOKUP archive - a collection of tutorials from our own Excel experts Simon Hurst and David Carter.
If this collection has got you excited about Excel lookup techniques, but made you regret that you didn’t hear about VLOOKUP Week in time, don’t despair. The response was so overwhelming that Bill Jelen announced, “We’re going to need a bigger week!” In the world of Excel MVPs, VLOOKUP Week goes on forever.
Have a look at the resources available, and let us know if we've missed any of your favourite VLOOKUP tricks.
About John Stokdyk
John Stokdyk is the global editor of AccountingWEB UK and AccountingWEB.com.