## Excel Tutorial – Vlookup Multiple Columns To The Right With An Array Formula

In the process of teaching Excel classes, many students ask:

How can I write a single vlookup function that returns multiple values to the right, instead of a single value, which causes me to write many vlookup functions in many columns.

This tutorial does not teach vlookup, that feature is taught in the Introduction and Advanced classes. Here we focus on vlookup and array formulas. The purpose of this tutorial is to supplement the class notes.

When performing calculations in Excel, typically a single cell contains a formula with functions that return a single value. An array formula is different in that it will typically include many cells (rows or columns) and return many values. Where I would teach students to press the enter key to commit an edit, to create an array formula we are required to hold Ctrl+Shift+Enter.

Vlookup Array Workbook

Though not required, I suggest when you open this workbook, click the Enable macros command which will create two windows and tile them side by side.
In this example, the idea is to write a single vlookup function on the VlookupOrders sheet. The single vlookup will find the order number on the Data sheet and return three values, the Company Name, the Country and the Sale.

## Example Of Data In Vlookup Array Workbook

1) On the VlookupOrders worksheet tab, select/highlight cells C2:E2
2) Create the following formula:
=VLOOKUP(B2,Data!B:F,{3,2,5},0)

Note: For the third argument, the col_index_num, we are allowed to use as many values as needed. In this example I am trying to illustrate that as much as I can return three columns to three cells — in any sequence — we can choose any number of columns as needed. However, to vlookup four columns, in step 1, select/highlight four cells. Also note that we cannot simply add parentheses around the values of the col_index_num, use curly braces {} (squiggly brackets – typically found to the right of the letter P on your keyboard).

3) To convert this to an array formula, hold the Ctrl+Shift keys and press the Enter key. The array formula adds {} (curly braces) around the vlookup formula.

A final word of warning: Array formulas have drawbacks. One drawback is that array formulas recalculate a bit slowly over thousands of rows. A bigger drawback is that we have lost the ability to insert a new column within the arrayed formula range. To verify the loss of the ability to insert a column inside the array, on the VlookupOrders sheet, right click column D and left click the Insert command.

# SumProduct Function Applications

When teaching Excel classes students occasionally ask about the SumProduct function. There are many aspects of SumProduct that mirror the SumIfs functions capabilities but SumProduct can produce different answers when combined with the unary operator. This tutorial is not meant to be a thorough discussion of SumProduct but is meant to provide an addendum to class notes.

I have provided a picture of the worksheet for those who cannot open Excel workbooks:

### SumProduct – Example 1

The SumProduct function multiplies one array by another array. An array is typically a range of cells in a single column. In the first example imagine that our goal is to calculate the total gross pay for all employees in all divisions and departments. The ‘old fashioned’ Excel approach is to write a formula to calculate hours * rate for each employee (cells G2:G21) then Sum those values. In this Level 1 example, we would need to generate 20 formulas in 20 cells to find the answer, where a SumProduct function calculates the result with less effort.

With SumProduct
=SUMPRODUCT(E:E,F:F)

Without SumProduct
=(E2*F2)+(E3*F3)+(E4*F4)+(E5*F5)+(E6*F6)+(E7*F7)+(E8*F8)+(E9*F9)+(E10*F10)+(E11*F11)+(E12*F12)+(E13*F13)+(E14*F14)+(E15*F15)+(E16*F16)+(E17*F17)+(E18*F18)+(E19*F19)+(E20*F20)+(E21*F21)

### SumProduct – Example 2

About fifteen years ago Excel did not offer a SumIfs function and SumProduct was an alternative to using an array formula. Like the SumIfs function, SumProduct can work conditionally using criteria. Where SumIfs only allows AND criteria, SumProduct also supports OR criteria (but this generally double counts and generates incorrect results). Several studies have shown that SumIfs functions calculate significantly faster than SumProduct functions.

In example 2 imagine that we want to only sum the gross pay if the division equals Maine and the department equals Sales. In this example the asterisk (*) between Array1 and Array2 operates as an AND operator. The formula reads, If column C contains “Maine” AND Column D contains “Sales”, then Sum the value in column E times column F. If we use a plus (+) instead of an asterisk, this represents an OR criteria but double counts the products of Maine and Sales.

With SumProduct
=SUMPRODUCT((C:C=”Maine”)*(D:D=”Sales”),E:E,F:F)

With SumIfs
=SUMIFS(G:G,C:C,”Maine”,D:D,”Sales”)

Array Formula Sum If
{=SUM(IF((C:C=”Maine”)*(D:D=”Sales”),E:E*F:F))}

### SumProduct – Example 3

At times we see a double hyphen (- -) in a formula. In Excel the double hyphen is known as a unary operator. The purpose of the unary operator is to force text values to 0/1 values where zero means false and one means true.

SumProduct Formula
=SUMPRODUCT(–(C:C=”Maine”)*–(D:D=”Sales”),E:E,F:F)

Like example 2 except now the – operator converts values where a cell contains Maine or Sales to 0 for false and 1 for true, then uses the corresponding 1 values to determine which values in columns E and F are multiplied and summed.

SumProduct is also used to compare values in two columns to count how many words or numbers match (typically columns in separate workbooks). In general, do not sort the data, this technique compares corresponding values within the same row.

SumProduct Formula
=SUMPRODUCT(–(\$C:\$C=”Maine”),–(\$I:\$I=”Maine”))

This formula asks Excel to compare the values in column C to the values in column I for the word Maine. The unary operator converts results to 0 for false or 1 for true, and then the SumProduct function sums the values for 1/true.

SumProduct can also compare the value in two columns to count identical values

SumProduct Formula
=SUMPRODUCT(–(E:E=40),–(K:K=40))

Like the previous example, this formula asks SumProduct to sum the 1 values if the numbers in column E and K are identical and equal 40.

### SumProduct – Example 4

The most valuable use of the SumProduct is to calculate a weighted average (this question only occurs about once every ten years). The straight average sums the values and divides by the count. A weighted average considers some values have a higher weight. In this example imagine the weighted average is based on the count of Divisions, where there are six Connecticut values, four Maine values, and five New Hampshire and five Vermont values.

In this example the SumProduct weights the average gross pay based on the count of divisions.

SumProduct Formula – Longhand notation for weighted average
=SUMPRODUCT({780,780,860,504,589,504,350,213,860,589,472.15,176,860,880,443.75,880,472.15,780,840,350},{4,6,4,6,5,6,5,6,5,6,5,5,5,5,5,5,6,4,4,5})/SUM(H2:H21)

SumProduct Formula – Shorthand notation for weighted average
=SUMPRODUCT(E2:E21,F2:F21,H2:H21)/SUM(H2:H21)

## Excel Class NYC – Free Excel Training Tutorial – Excel Text Functions

Excel Class nyc offers a free excel training blog tutorial post. This Excel Class Blog is part I of a three part series of Excel training about text functions.