Consider the data in Table 1. Each student’s information is stored in a single row. Write a formula to return the average grade for Fred. The problem can be restated as Search column A in the range A1:G16 for Fred and return the value in column F (column F is the sixth column). The obvious solution is =VLOOKUP("Fred"; A2:G16; 6). Equally obvious is =LOOKUP("Fred"; A2:A16; F2:F16).
It is common for the first row in a range to contains column headers. All of the search functions check the first row to see if there is a match and then ignore it if it does not contain a match, in case the first row is a header.
What if the column heading Average is known, but not the column containing the average? Find the column containing Average rather than hard coding the value 6. A slight modification using MATCH to find the column yields =VLOOKUP("Fred"; A2:G16; MATCH("Average"; A1:G1; 0)); notice that the heading is not sorted. As an exercise, use HLOOKUP to find Average and then MATCH to find the row containing Fred.
As a final example, write a formula to assign grades based on a student’s average score. Assume that a score less than 51 is an F, less than 61 is an E, less than 71 is a D, less than 81 is a C, less than 91 is a B, and 91 to 100 is an A. Assume that the values in Table 9 are in Sheet2.
Table 9. Associate scores to a grade.
The formula =VLOOKUP(83; $Sheet2.$A$2:$B$7; 2) is an obvious solution. Dollar signs are used so that the formula can be copied and pasted to a different location and it will still reference the same values in Table 9.