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Why INDEX MATCH is Better Than VLOOKUP in Excel

Last Updated : 14 Sep, 2023
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While choosing which vertical query recipe to utilize, most Excel specialists concur that INDEX MATCH is a preferable equation over VLOOKUP. Be that as it may, many individuals actually resort to utilizing VLOOKUP in light of the fact that it’s a less difficult recipe. One significant driver of this issue is that a great many people actually don’t completely grasp the advantages of changing from VLOOKUP, and without such comprehension, they are reluctant to contribute an opportunity to gain proficiency with the more mind-boggling equation. The motivation behind this post is to exhaustively every one of the advantages of utilizing INDEX MATCH and persuade you that you ought to utilize INDEX MATCH solely for your upward queries as a whole.

What is INDEX MATCH in Excel

The Following Formula is the blend of two capabilities in Excel: INDEX and MATCH.

=INDEX() returns the worth of a cell in a table in light of the segment and column number.

=MATCH() returns the place of a cell in succession or segment.

Consolidated, the two equations can gaze upward and return the worth of a cell in a table in light of vertical and level standards.

How to Use the INDEX Formula in Excel

The following is a table showing individuals’ names, levels, and weights. We need to utilize the INDEX equation to look into Thanish’s level, here is an illustration of how to make it happen.

Following these means,

  • Type “=INDEX(” and select the region of the table, then, at that point, add a comma
  • Type the column number for Thanish, which is “4,” and add a comma
  • Type the section number for Height, which is “2,” and close the section
  • The outcome is “5.8.”


How to Use the MATCH Formula in Excel

Staying with a similar model as over, we should utilize MATCH to sort out what column Thanish is in.

Following these means,

  • Type “=MATCH(” and connection to the cell containing “Thanish”… the name we need to turn upward.
  • Select every one of the cells in the Name section (counting the “Name” header).
  • Type zero “0” for a definite match.
  • The outcome is that Thanish is in column “4.”


How to Combine INDEX and MATCH

Presently we can take the two MATCH equations and use them to supplant the “4” and the “2” in the first INDEX recipe. The outcome is an INDEX MATCH equation.

Following these means,

  • Cut the MATCH equation for Thanish and supplant the “4” with it.
  • Cut the MATCH equation for Height and supplant the “2” with it.
  • The outcome is Thanish’s Height is “5.8.”
  • Congrats, you currently have a powerful INDEX MATCH equation!


What is VLOOKUP in Excel?

VLOOKUP means ‘Vertical Lookup’. A capability makes Excel look for a specific worth in a segment (the purported ‘table cluster’), to return a worth from an alternate section in a similar column. This article will show you how to utilize the VLOOKUP capability.

A VLOOKUP capability exists in 4 parts,

  • The worth you need to turn upward;
  • The reach wherein you need to find the worth and bring esteem back;
  • The quantity of the section inside your characterized range, that contains the bring esteem back;
  • 0 or FALSE for an accurate coordinate with the worth you are searching for; 1 or TRUE for an estimated match.

Syntax: VLOOKUP([value], [range], [column number], [false or true])

In our model, we have a rundown of Names, Height, and Weights. We need to find the Height of Sai rapidly in this table. In the first place, select a cell in which you need to distribute the Height:



Along these lines, in our chosen cell we begin composing: =VLOOKUP( :



Then, at that point, we select the worth we need to look into, for this situation, it’s ‘Sai’ in cell F3,



Next, we enter ‘,’ and select the reach (or table cluster) in which we need to find the query esteem and the bring esteem back. For this situation it is range (B2:D8):



Then, at that point, we enter ‘,’ and the quantity of the section inside the characterized range wherein we need to search for the bring esteem back. For this situation, it is segment 2, trailed by ‘,’ and ‘0’ or Misleading for a definite coordinate with the query esteem ‘Sai’:



At the point when we press enter, we get the comparing cost from the column that holds esteem ‘Sai’ inside the chosen table exhibit:



In this model we just have a little rundown of names, however, envision you have a considerable rundown of information and you wish to utilize a specific worth somewhere else in your bookkeeping sheet. Utilizing VLOOKUP (and HLOOKUP) the client just needs to change a specific worth in one worksheet and it will consequently be changed in any remaining significant spots. Be that as it may, imagine a scenario in which we’re unsure about the query esteem. This is the point at which the estimated match may be valuable.

Estimated match in VLOOKUP

At the point when we enter the word ‘Sia’ in our query esteem cell G3, the VLOOKUP capability as we planned gets confounded, in light of the fact that it can’t track down this worth in the table exhibit. It returns the standard Excel blunder #N/A:



Be that as it may, when we change the ‘0’ (or ‘False’) part of our VLOOKUP capability to ‘1’ or ‘Valid’:


Presently we have requested that the capability search for an estimaed coordination with ‘Sia’. On the off chance that it can’t find the specific match, it will search for the nearest match to the worth ‘Sia’, not as much as ‘Sia’, which is ‘Sai’:




Dynamic Column Reference Leads to Fewer Errors

The critical contrast between INDEX MATCH and VLOOKUP is that VLOOKUP requires a static section reference while INDEX MATCH utilizes a powerful segment reference. With VLOOKUP, the vast majority will include a particular, static number to show which section they need to get back from. At the point when you use INDEX MATCH, the recipe permits you to physically pick which section you need to pull from.

The explanation this prompts fewer blunders is on the grounds that when you follow the INDEX MATCH linguistic structure, you click straightforwardly on the field containing the worth you need to return.



With the VLOOKUP language structure, you determine your whole table exhibit, AND THEN you determine a section reference to show which segment you need to pull information from.



It’s a little contrast, however, this extra step without a doubt prompts more blunders. This mistake is particularly predominant when you have a huge table cluster and need to outwardly count the number of sections you need to move over. At the point when you use INDEX MATCH, no such counting is required.

The following two benefits of utilizing INDEX MATCH likewise come from the way that VLOOKUP requires a static segment reference input for the qualities you need to return. If it’s not too much trouble, note that you could get around the static reference issue by utilizing an equation inside the VLOOKUP punctuation, making a mix recipe like VLOOKUP MATCH or VLOOKUP HLOOKUP. Notwithstanding, it’s a lot more straightforward just to learn INDEX MATCH and gain every one of the extra advantages past having dynamic section reference.

Insert Column Immunity

The best advantage of utilizing INDEX MATCH over VLOOKUP is the way that, with INDEX MATCH, you can embed segments in your table exhibit without misshaping your query results. Any time you work with a huge dataset, there’s a decent opportunity you’ll have to return to alter our sections and possibly embed another segment. With VLOOKUP, any embedded or erased section that uproots your return values will change the aftereffects of your equations.

Take the VLOOKUP model beneath. Here, we’ve arranged the equation to pull the State esteem from our information table. Since it is a VLOOKUP recipe, we have referred to the fourth section.



If we insert a column in the middle of the table array, the new result is now “Bangalore”; we are no longer pulling the correct value for State and must change the column reference.



INDEX MATCH as an embed section insusceptibility, so you can embed and erase segments without stressing over refreshing each related query equation.

Easier to Drag and Copy

While working with enormous datasets, it’s uncommon to compose only a solitary query recipe; you’re probably going to have to drag and duplicate your equation to numerous cells to play out different queries. For instance, suppose that for a particular ID, I need to return a progression of values from my table precisely as per the pattern in which they show up in the table. At the point when I attempt to drag and duplicate the standard VLOOKUP equation across (with a reference lock on both the query esteem and the table cluster), the query doesn’t work since it simply pulls a similar incentive for every passage. This lack is again brought about by VLOOKUP requiring a particular section reference input for your bring values back.



With INDEX MATCH, since you can set the return section to drift (basically by not reference locking it) the return segment will move as you duplicate your equation over, giving you the various fields as they show up.



No Array Restriction

One more key impediment of VLOOKUP is that it expects you to determine a square table cluster wherein your segment reference can’t move past. The key circumstance when this turns into an issue is the point at which you add another field to your dataset past your unique table cluster. Consider the model beneath:


Assuming we add another segment to this dataset, we can’t utilize my unique VLOOKUP recipe to pull values from that new section. In the event that we change my section reference to “6” the recipe returns a mistake on the grounds that my table is just 5 segments wide. To make the recipe work, we need to refresh the table exhibit we determined each time we add another segment.


With INDEX MATCH, you don’t have to determine a table cluster and hence don’t deal with this issue.

Right to Left Lookup

One of the vital advantages of utilizing INDEX MATCH is having the option to make query keys on the right half of your information table. New query keys are for the most part made by running estimations on fields inside your unique dataset. These keys address your query segment inside the INDEX MATCH language structure. While utilizing INDEX MATCH, you can add these new query keys to the right half of your table and play out an option to-passed on the query to pull the qualities you need to return. The INDEX MATCH punctuation doesn’t mind whether your query segment is on the left or right half of your bring section back.


With VLOOKUP, on the grounds that you can play out a left-to-right query, any new query key you add should be on the left half of your unique table cluster. Thusly, every time you add another key, you need to move your whole dataset to one side by one segment. In addition to the fact that this is irritating, it can obstruct existing recipes and computations you’ve made in your calculation sheet.

Doubles as an HLOOKUP

This likely isn’t the greatest arrangement for most clients, however, it’s as yet worth focusing on. A VLOOKUP limits you to just performing vertical queries on a table cluster. I can’t, for instance, query values across the highest point of my dataset and play out a flat query. To accomplish this goal, I’d have to utilize something else altogether.

With INDEX MATCH, you can basically organize both your query exhibit and return cluster evenly to play out an HLOOKUP. I don’t suggest doing flat queries as a general rule, yet on the off chance that you at any point need to, you ought to utilize the INDEX MATCH recipe.

Lower Processing Need

The handling advantage of utilizing INDEX MATCH has been underestimated in ongoing adaptations of Excel on the grounds that the product’s handling capacities have extended so remarkably. Be that as it may, simply give everybody a concise history example I’ll expand upon this advantage. In a portion of Excel’s more seasoned renditions, the product had unmistakable handling constraints that would be observable on the off chance that you constructed an immense informational index. In certain circumstances, I was expected to query values for a great many lines so I could add another section to a huge table. When I added these recipes, the product would freeze up and require a few minutes to work out the bring values back. I ultimately needed to supplant my VLOOKUP recipes with INDEX MATCH to accelerate the estimations.

The justification behind this distinction is very straightforward. VLOOKUP requires serious handling power from Excel in light of the fact that it needs to assess the whole table cluster you’ve chosen. With INDEX MATCH, Excel just needs to think about the query segment and the bring section back. With fewer outright cells to consider, Excel can handle this recipe a lot quicker.

Once more, if it’s not too much trouble, remember that this advantage is most likely as of now not observable given the upgrades made in Excel’s handling power. In any case, if under any circumstance you really want to run a large number of query recipes inside a calculation sheet, try to utilize INDEX MATCH.

Comparison Table of VLOOKUP vs INDEX MATCH



VLOOKUP utilizes the static information reference while looking into the qualities. INDEX MATCH utilizes powerful information ranges while looking into the qualities.
Embedding or Deleting a section influences the VLOOKUP result. Embedding or erasing a section doesn’t influence the INDEX MATCH result.
VLOOKUP must be utilized for looking into values from Left to Right. INDEX MATCH can look into the qualities from Left to Right as well as Right to Left.
VLOOKUP just can query through vertical lines, for example, segments, and not through columns. INDEX MATCH can query values through lines as well as segments.
VLOOKUP has a breaking point for lookup_value size. It ought not to be surpassing 255 characters. INDEX MATCH has no restriction of size or length for matching qualities.
VLOOKUP isn’t well disposed of with regards to duplicate and drag. INDEX MATCH is more well disposed of with regards to duplicating and dragging the equation across different cells.
VLOOKUP is straightforward as well as recollect in examination with INDEX MATCH. INDEX MATCH is difficult to comprehend as well as recollect because of mind-boggling nature consolidates two capabilities/formulae.
VLOOKUP isn’t generally as quick as the INDEX MATCH when we are managing enormous informational collections. INDEX MATCH is generally quicker than the VLOOKUP.


The one impediment to utilizing INDEX MATCH is that it is plainly more enthusiastic to learn and more challenging to recall. Succeed doesn’t have the sentence structure incorporated into the product and the punctuation without anyone else isn’t instinctive.

Changing from VLOOKUP to INDEX MATCH was one of the key advances I took to work on the nature of the Excel models I assembled. I presently use INDEX MATCH solely for my upward queries in general. I do this since it’s a superior recipe, yet in addition, it assists me with recalling the more complicated punctuation. Whenever you’ve done the switch, and encountered the advantages of utilizing INDEX MATCH, I guarantee you that you won’t return to VLOOKUP.

FAQs on Why INDEX MATCH is Better Than VLOOKUP in Excel

Can INDEX MATCH handle multiple criteria lookups?

INDEX MATCH is capable of handling multiple criteria lookups by employing multiple MATCH functions together. This feature enables you to conduct intricate searches and extract precise data based on multiple conditions.

What are the limitations of INDEX MATCH ?

Although INDEX MATCH is a powerful feature the only problem with this Function is that it may be more complex to use than VLOOKUP, mainly for beginners. You should pay more attention while writing the formula.

Can we replace all LOOKUPS with INDEX MATCH?

INDEX MATCH is a versatile alternative to VLOOKUP, there’s no need to replace all VLOOKUPs. For simple vertical lookups, VLOOKUP is still effective and easier to use.

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