|if [range_lookup] = TRUE|
(or is omitted)
|if [range_lookup] = FALSE||-||The #N/A error arises because an exact match to the lookup_value is not present in the left-hand column of the table_array.|
If you still do not understand why your Vlookup function is returning the #N/A error, it may help to work through the following steps to identify the problem.
Check that your Vlookup function has the correct syntax. The #N/A error could arise if the lookup_value or table_array have been incorrectly defined.
Therefore you need to check the following:
If you are satisfied that the syntax of your Vlookup function is correct, check that the lookup_value has the same data type as the values to be searched (i.e. the values in the first column of the table_array).
If these values have different data types, Excel will be unable to compare them. For example, if the lookup_value is the text string "1110004", the Excel Vlookup function will not be able to find this value within the set of numeric values, 1110001, 1110002, 1110003, 1110004, etc.
This is shown in the spreadsheet below:
One of the easiest ways to quickly identify if a value in a cell is a text value is to use the Excel IsText function. I.e. for the example above, to check if cell B1 is actually a text value, type the following into any available cell:
Then check the contents of cell E6 by typing the following into any available cell:
If you find that your lookup_value and the first column of your table_array do have different data types, this can be resolved by changing one of the data types (for example, you might want to change the contents of column E of the above spreadsheet into text values).
If you are using the exact match version of the Vlookup function (i.e. with the [range_lookup] set to FALSE), it may be the case that the lookup_value is not exactly equal to the value that you believe it should match, within the table_array.
For example, in the spreadsheet below, the contents of cells B1 and E6 look equal, but Excel may not actually evaluate these two cells to be exactly equal.
This formula will evaluate to TRUE if Excel considers the contents of cells B1 and E6 to be truly equal or FALSE otherwise.
If the above formula evaluates to FALSE, this tells you that the cause of your error is that Excel does not consider the contents of cells B1 and E6 to be truly equal. This is likely to be due to one of the following reasons:
Double click on each of the cells and check the contents to see if there are any unseen characters at the start or end of the cells. If so, you will need to remove any additional characters from the cells. This can be done manually, but if you want to change several cells, it may be faster to use the Excel Trim function, as follows:
Further Vlookup troubleshooting tips are provided, in the form of a handy Vlookup Quick Reference Card, on the Microsoft Office website.