In the previous article How To Use VLOOKUP In Excel, I told you how to use the excel **VLOOKUP** function to search for value in a cell range and return the wanted value in the cell range. In this article, I will tell you what is the difference between VLOOKUP approximate match and exact match with examples.

### 1. What Is The Difference Between Excel VLOOKUP Approximate Match And Exact Match?

- The excel
**VLOOKUP**function has the below syntax.=VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, column_index_num, [range_lookup])

- The fourth parameter of the excel
**VLOOKUP**function is**range_lookup**which is a boolean value.

#### 1.1 VLOOKUP Approximate Match.

- When
**range_lookup**is set to**TRUE**it will implement the**approximate match**. - In the
**approximate match**mode, if it can find the exactly matched cell then it will return the matched cell value. - If it can not find the exactly matched cell, it will return a cell whose value is smaller and closest matches the
**lookup_value**. - In the
**approximate match**mode, you need to**convert the cell range to an excel table and sort the first column of the table in ascending order**to make it work correctly. - If you do not order the table’s first column in ascending order, you may find it does not work as wanted.

#### 1.2 VLOOKUP Exact Match.

- When
**range_lookup**is set to**FALSE**it will implement the**exact match**. - In this match mode, if it can find the exactly matched cell, then it will return the cell value.
- If it can not find the exactly matched cell, it will return the error text
**#N/A**, it will not return the cell whose value approximately matches the**lookup_value.** - The VLOOKUP
**exact match**mode**does not need to order the cell range’s first column in ascending order**. - Now I will give you some examples to verify this.

### 2. Excel Vlookup Approximate Match And Exact Match Example.

- Below are the article’s example data cells.

- Column
**A**contains the student’s score, and column**B**contains the student’s name.

#### 2.1 Excel VLOOKUP Exact Match Example.

- Because the excel
**VLOOKUP**function exact match does not need to convert the above cell range to an excel table and does not need to sort - column
**A**in ascending order, we will show an example of exact math first. - Input the formula
**=VLOOKUP(28, A2:B6,2, FALSE)**in cell**C1**and press the enter key, then it will show the text**Tom**in cell**C1**. - The fourth parameter in the above formula is
**FALSE**, then it will implement an exact match. - The first parameter is
**28**which matches the cell**A3**‘s value. - The third parameter is
**2**, so it will return the cell**B3**‘s value which is**Tom**. - If you change the above formula to
**=VLOOKUP(29, A2:B6,2, FALSE)**, then it will show the error text**#N/A**, this is because there is no cell containing the number**29**in column**A**.

#### 2.2 Excel VLOOKUP Approximate Match Example.

- If you want to implement VLOOKUP approximate match in a cell range, you need first convert the cell range to an excel table and sort the table’s first column in ascending order, otherwise, the approximate match will not work correctly.
- Convert the cell range
**A1:B6**to an excel table, you can refer to the article Excel Convert Table To Range Example And Vice Versa. - Click the down arrow beside column
**A**‘s header (**Score**) and click the item**Sort Smallest to Largest**in the popup menu list to sort column**A**in ascending order. - Then you can get the below data table.

- Now input the formula
**=VLOOKUP(29, A2:B6,2, TRUE)**in cell**C1**and press the enter key. - Then it will show the text
**Tom**in cell**C1**, this is because there is not a cell in column**A**that contains the number**29**but cell**A3**‘s value**28**is closest to**29**, so it returns the cell**B3**‘s value**Tom**( because the third parameter is 2 ). - Input the formula
**=VLOOKUP(37, A2:B6,2, TRUE)**in cell**C2**and press the enter key, then it will show the text**Jerry**in cell**C2**. - This is because cell
**A4**‘s value (**35**) is smaller than number**37**and closest to number**37**, then it will return cell**B4**‘s value**Jerry**.

**Reference**

- How To Use Vlookup Wildcard To Implement Partial Match In Excel.
- How To Fix Vlookup Wildcard Not Working Issue.