Professor Excel
Convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP in Excel.

Convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP With These 4 Easy Methods!

The new XLOOKUP formula in Excel is great. It’s very powerful and solves many problems the iconic VLOOKUP (or HLOOKUP) formula cannot do. But there is one problem: It’s only available in the newest Excel versions. Older versions – which are still around a lot – can’t use them. In this article we explore 4 ways to convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP.

Prerequisites and disclaimer

Before we start, we unfortunately have to go through some requirements of your XLOOKUP formula as well as a disclaimer.

  1. These methods only work for a simple version of the XLOOKUP formula. That means that only the first three arguments are used. The last three arguments (which are optional) are not used).
  2. Also the formula is not wrapped in any other formula or contains other formulas within its arguments. If you have a formula combination, you’ll probably have to dig deeper – although methods 1 and 2 below might still help you.
  3. Please save backups of your work before you start. Especially the VBA macro (method 4 below) might cause irreversible changes to your formulas.

Method 1: Manually convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP

The first method – as usual – is the manual way. Often this is the fastest. Please follow these steps:

  1. Replace the X in XLOOKUP with V for VLOOKUP.
  2. The first argument stays the same.
  3. The second argument in the VLOOKUP formula is a comination of the 2nd and 3rd argument of XLOOKUP.
  4. Take a look at the 2nd and 3rd argument of XLOOKUP. How many column are there in-between. So if you are counting let’s say from column D to G, the “distance” of these two columns would be 3 columns (columns E, F and G). For VLOOKUP, you still have to add 1.
  5. The last argument is “FALSE”.
Steps to convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP
Steps to convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP

Example: Let’s take a look at an example. Your XLOOKUP formula looks like this: =XLOOKUP(A1,B1:B10,C1:C10)

Example of how to convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP in Excel.
Example of how to convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP in Excel.
  1. Replace XLOOKUP by VLOOKUP: =VLOOKUP(A1,B1:B10,C1:C10)
  2. The first argument (A1) remains the same: =VLOOKUP(A1,).
  3. Combine the first part of the second argument (B1 of the argument B1:10) and combine it with the last part of the 3rd argument: =VLOOKUP(A1,B1:C10,).
  4. Count the number of columns between the second and third argument of the original XLOOKUP formula and add 1: B to C has the distance of 1 column; after adding one, 2 is the third argument. =VLOOKUP(A1,B1:C10,2).
  5. Last argument is “FALSE”: =VLOOKUP(A1,B1:C10,2,FALSE).

Method 2: Transform cells containing XLOOKUP to hard values

The second method – transforming formula cells to “hard” values – can be achieved in two ways. Manually by copying and pasting respective cells or “automatically” by using a slightly smarter VBA macro.

Copy & Paste

Select the cell are range of cells containing XLOOKUP formulas. You can use the search function to identify these cells. As a side note: Please don’t copy and paste non-coherent cells.

Now copy these cells by pressing Ctrl + C on the keyboard. Next paste these cells with “Paste special”: Hold Ctrl + Alt on the keyboard and press V. Select “Values” and click on “OK”.

Please refer to this article for more information about pasting formulas as values only.

VBA Macro

You don’t like to convert XLOOKUP formula cells to values manually but rather use a VBA macro? Please feel free to use the following macro. It converts all cells that have formulas and have the string XLOOKUP within them to values. Of course the warning: Please be careful, the XLOOKUP and therefore your workbook does not work as before. And there is no undo function.

Add the code to your Excel file (please refer to this article for more detailled description of how to add VBA code to your Excel file):

  1. Open the VBA editor (Alt + F11 on the keyboard).
  2. Insert a new module.
  3. Paste the code below and place the cursor within the code.
  4. Press start.
Sub Convert_XLOOKUP_to_Values()
Dim formula_text As String
For Each cell In ActiveSheet.UsedRange

    If cell.HasFormula = True Then
        formula_text = cell.Formula

        If InStr(1, formula_text, "XLOOKUP") > 0 Then
            cell.Select
            cell.Copy
            cell.PasteSpecial xlPasteValues
        End If
    End If
Next

Application.CutCopyMode = False
End Sub
recommendation, professor, excel

Recommendation: Please check the example workbook. In the download workbook, please find the VBA macro in the module “modConvertValues”.

Method 3: Use an Excel formula to convert XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP

You don’t like VBA / macros? This methods works without any VBA code and with only minimal manual work.

Transform XLOOKUP to VLOOKUP with an Excel formula.

The idea: You copy and paste a long formula (see below) into your sheet. Then you just do a tiny modification (by search & replace). The output of the formula is a VLOOKUP formula, based on your input XLOOKUP formula.

So let’s assume that your XLOOKUP formula is located in cells B3.

  1. Copy the Excel formula (below) into an empty, unused cell. In the picture above, it was copied into cell C14.
  2. Replace all occurrences of “A1” by your XLOOKUP formula cell, B5. Fastest would be the Find & Replace function (press Ctrl + H on the keyboard to open the dialogue).
    The output of the formula is the converted VLOOKUP formula.
  3. Copy and paste it (as values) into cell B5. Press one time F2 and Enter in order to eventually convert the text to formula.
="=VLOOKUP("&MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),FIND("(",FORMULATEXT(A1))+1,FIND(",",FORMULATEXT(A1))-FIND("(",FORMULATEXT(A1))-1)&","&MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),FIND(",",FORMULATEXT(A1))+1,FIND(":",FORMULATEXT(A1))-FIND(",",FORMULATEXT(A1))-1)&":"&MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),MATCH(2,1/(MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),SEQUENCE(LEN(FORMULATEXT(A1))),1)=":"))+1,LEN(FORMULATEXT(A1))-MATCH(2,1/(MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),SEQUENCE(LEN(FORMULATEXT(A1))),1)=":"))-1)&","&COLUMN(INDIRECT(MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),MATCH(2,1/(MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),SEQUENCE(LEN(FORMULATEXT(A1))),1)=":"))+1,LEN(FORMULATEXT(A1))-MATCH(2,1/(MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),SEQUENCE(LEN(FORMULATEXT(A1))),1)=":"))-1)&"1"))-COLUMN(INDIRECT(MID(FORMULATEXT(A1),FIND(",",FORMULATEXT(A1))+1,FIND(":",FORMULATEXT(A1))-FIND(",",FORMULATEXT(A1))-1)&"1"))+1&",FALSE)"
recommendation, professor, excel

Recommendation: Check the example in the workbook. In the the download workbook, the Excel formula is located in cell C14 of the only worksheet.

Method 4: Convert all XLOOKUP formulas to VLOOKUP with this VBA macro

The last method is also the most complex one: Convert all XLOOKUP formulas in your current worksheet to VLOOKUP with a VBA macro.

One more time the warning:

  1. Please be careful, the XLOOKUP and therefore your workbook does not work as before.
  2. There is no undo function.
  3. Also this VBA macro only works for the simple version of XLOOKUP formula, having only 3 arguments and the lookup works from left to right (this article has more information about VLOOKUPs to the left).

Add the code to your Excel file (please refer to this article for more detailled description of how to add VBA code to your Excel file):

  1. Open the VBA editor (Alt + F11 on the keyboard).
  2. Insert a new module.
  3. Paste the code below and place the cursor within the code.
  4. Press start.
Sub Convert_XLOOKUP_to_VLOOKUP()
'
' Convert_XLOOKUP_to_VLOOKUP Macro
' Converts all XLOOKUP formulas to VLOOKUP. Careful: Only works with simple XLOOKUP formulas. Please save a backup first - undo not possible.

Dim proceed As Boolean
proceed = MsgBox("Converts all XLOOKUP formulas to VLOOKUP. Careful: Only works with simple XLOOKUP formulas. Please save a backup first - undo not possible.", vbOKCancel, "Careful!")

If proceed = True Then
    Dim formula_text As String
    Dim xlookup_arguments() As String
    Dim vlookup_arguments(2) As String
    Dim first_cell As String
    Dim second_cell As String
    Dim complete_formula As String
    Dim n As Integer
    
    n = 0
    
    'Go trough all cells in used range
    For Each cell In ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Cells
        
        'Only regard formula cells
        If cell.HasFormula = True Then
            formula_text = cell.Formula
            
            'Only use formulas starting with XLOOKUP
            If Left(formula_text, 9) = "=XLOOKUP(" Or Left(formula_text, 1) = "=+XLOOKUP(" Then
            
                'Split the formula into its arguments
                xlookup_arguments = splitString(CStr(formula_text))
                
                'Write new arguments one by one
                vlookup_arguments(0) = xlookup_arguments(0)
                first_cell = Split(xlookup_arguments(1), ":")(0)
                second_cell = Split(xlookup_arguments(2), ":")(1)
                vlookup_arguments(1) = first_cell & ":" & second_cell
                
                'Handle difference of column cell range ("A:B") and other cell range ("A1:B5")
                If string_has_number(CStr(first_cell)) = True Then
                    number_of_columns = Range(second_cell).Column - Range(first_cell).Column
                Else
                    number_of_columns = Range(second_cell & "1").Column - Range(first_cell & "1").Column
                End If
                
                'add one for VLOOKUP distance because VLOOKUP starts counting with the first column/cells
                vlookup_arguments(2) = number_of_columns + 1
                
                complete_formula = "=VLOOKUP(" & vlookup_arguments(0) & "," & vlookup_arguments(1) & "," & vlookup_arguments(2) & ",FALSE)"
                
                cell.Formula = complete_formula
                n = n + 1
            End If

        End If
    Next
    
    Dim confirm As Boolean
    If n = 0 Then
        confirm = MsgBox("No XLOOKUP formula converted", vbExclamation, "Done")
    Else
        confirm = MsgBox(n & " XLOOKUP formulas to VLOOKUP converted. Please check them and if necessary revert back to your previously saved backup file.", vbExclamation, "Done")
    End If
End If


End Sub


Function splitString(formula_text As String)
    Dim Result() As String
    Dim DisplayText As String
    Dim arguments As String
    arguments = Replace(formula_text, "=XLOOKUP(", "")
    arguments = Replace(arguments, "=+XLOOKUP(", "")
    
    Result = Split(arguments, ",")
    Result(2) = Replace(Result(2), ")", "")
    
    splitString = Result
End Function

Function string_has_number(first_cell As String) As Boolean
    Dim i As Integer
    
    For i = 1 To Len(first_cell)
        If IsNumeric(Mid(first_cell, i, 1)) Then
            string_has_number = True
            Exit Function
        End If
    Next
 
End Function
recommendation, professor, excel

Recommendation: In the download workbook, please find the VBA macro in the module “modConvertVLOOKUP”.

Download

Download all examples above in this workbook.

Please feel free to download all examples, including all VBA macros in this article, from this link.




Case-Sensitive Lookups in Excel

Case-Sensitive Lookups in Excel: 4 Methods (+XLSX-Download)

By definition, the VLOOKUP formula is not case-sensitive. Case-sensitive means, that it matters if you use capital letters or small letters. For instance, a VLOOKUP search for “AAA” will return the same value as for “aaa” or “Aaa”. But in some cases, you want to differentiate between capital and small letters. So how do you proceed? In this article, you learn how to make VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX/MATCH and SUMIFS case-sensitive.

[…]

VLOOKUP to the Left

VLOOKUP to the Left in Excel. Yes, It’s Possible!

The VLOOKUP formula in its base version only works from left to right. The search column must be located on the left-hand side of the return column. What if your data doesn’t have such structure? There is a way for using the VLOOKUP to the left but it requires an array form of the formula. It’s often worth considering alternative formulas though. Here is everything you should know.

[…]

Multi-Condition Lookups in Excel

Multi-Condition VLOOKUP and INDEX/MATCH (+Excel-Download)

There are many cases in which you want to conduct a lookup with several search criteria. As of now only the SUMIFS formula allows a multi-condition lookup. Unfortunately, SUMIFS only works for numeric values (including dates) as the return value. If you want to return text, there is no direct method.

[…]

3d, 3 way, lookups, 3d lookups, excel

3D Lookups in Excel: 6 Methods (+Download)

The king of lookups in Excel: The 3 way- or 3D lookup. Imagine this scenario: You got several Excel tables, each has rows and columns. Depending on your input values, you want to get the data from a specific cell from the right table, row and column. Such lookups are called 3D lookups or 3 way lookups. In this article we explore 6 methods of how to conduct 3D lookups in Excel.

[…]

2D Lookups in Excel: 4 Easy Methods for 2 Way Lookups + Excel Download

There are many cases in which you need a 2 dimensional lookup. That means, if you want to get a value from a specific row-column combination with neither rows or columns fixed. Unfortunately, the problem of a two way lookup comes up quite often. In this article we explore 4 methods of how to conduct 2D lookups in Excel.

[…]

vlookup, hlookup, lookup, excel, how, guide

VLOOKUP in Excel: All You Need to Know About the Powerful Formula

One of the most popular formulas in Excel is the VLOOKUP formula. Many lookup approaches are based on the VLOOKUP formula. Mastering it is crucial for any of the following chapters and methods. Unfortunately, VLOOKUP is not as easy to use as a SUM or COUNT. In this article, you learn how to use VLOOKUP, what to keep in mind and some more advices about VLOOKUP.
[…]

index, match, excel, formula, vlookup

INDEX and MATCH: The Alternative to VLOOKUP in Excel

You’ve probably heard of the VLOOKUP formula in Excel, haven’t you? The VLOOKUP formula searches for a value in a column. Once found it returns another value from the same row. A combination of INDEX and MATCH serves the same purpose. It works slightly different and has therefore some advantages and disadvantages towards VLOOKUP. 

[…]

When to use VLOOKUP, SUMIFS or INDEX/MATCH in Excel

One of the most often used functions when creating an Excel model is consolidating data from different sources. There are 3 major formulas for combining data from different tables or worksheets: VLOOKUP, SUMIFS and INDEX/MATCH. VLOOKUP and SUMIFS are rather popular whereas INDEX/MATCH is usually not that well known. So what is the difference between these 3 formulas and which one should you use? […]