To retrieve information from an employee database we can use a VLOOKUP formula. This formula will simply find the unique id and return the information related to that employee ID. If you are new to VLOOKUP functions, this is one of the best VLOOKUP exercises.
So to fetch employee records from the database, we can use this simple VLOOKUP formula:
ID: it is the unique ID of the employee in the database. We will use it to look up employee information.
Database: It is a table that contains the information of employees. The first column must be the Id.
Col: It is the column number from which you want to retrieve the value.
0 or False: It is used for the exact match VLOOKUP.
Now that we know the generic formula, let's use it as an Example.
We have a table that contains the details of all the employees in an organization on a separate sheet. The first column contains the ID of these employees. I have named this table as emp_data.
Now my search sheet needs to fetch the employee's information whose ID is written in cell B3. I have named B3 as my ID.
For ease of understanding, all the column headings are in exactly the same order as the emp_data table.
Now write the below formula in cell C3 to retrieve the zone of the employee ID written in B3.
This will return to the zone of the employee Id 1-1830456593 because column number 2 in the database contains the zone of employees.
Copy this formula in the rest of the cells and change the column number in the formula to get all the information of employees.
You can see that all the information related to the mentioned ID in Cell B3. Whichever id you write in Cell B3, all the information will be fetched without making any changes in the formula.
How does this work?
There's nothing tricky. We are simply using the VLOOKUP function to lookup ID and then fetch the mentioned column. Practice VLOOKUP using such data to understand the VLOOKUP more.
In the above example, we had all the columns organized in the same order but there will be times when you'll have a database that will have hundreds of columns. In such cases, this method of retrieving employee information won't be good. It would be better if the formula can look at the column heading and fetch data from that column from the employee table.
So to retrieve value from the table using column headings we will use a 2-way lookup method or say dynamic column VLOOKUP.
Use this formula in cell C3 and copy in the rest cells. You don't need to change anything in the formula, everything will be fetched from the emp_data.
This formula simply retrieves all the information from matched columns. You can jumble the headers in the report, this won't make any difference. Whichever heading is written in the cell above, the respective data contains.
How does this work?
This is simply a dynamic VLOOKUP. You can read about it here. If I explain it here, it will become too large article.
It may happen that you don't remember the whole ID of an employee, but you still want to retrieve the information of some ID. In such cases partial match VLOOKUP is the best solution.
For example, If I know that some id contains 2345 but I don't know the whole Id. If I enter this number in Cell C3, the output will be like.
We get nothing. Since nothing matches 2345 in the table. Modify the above formula like this.
Copy this in the entire row. Now you have the information of the first employee that contains this number.
Please note that we will get the first ID that contains the matching number in Emp Id column. If any other ID contains the same number, this formula will not retrieve that employee's information.
If you want to get all the employee ids that contain the same number, use the formula that lookups all the matched values.
So yeah guys, this is how you can retrieve employee information from a data table in Excel using VLOOKUP formula. Practice VLOOKUP with such data more and more to understand the VLOOKUP's working.
I hope it was explanatory enough and served your purpose of being here. If you have any doubt regarding this article or any other Excel VBA related doubt, ask me in the comment section below. Till then keep practicing and keep Excelling.
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