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11 Lookup and Decision-Making Worksheet Functions in Microsoft Excel

120 Minutes

Recorded Webinar


Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA, explains helpful ways you can improve the integrity of your spreadsheets using Excel’s lookup functions. While many users rely on VLOOKUP to return data from other locations in a worksheet, that’s not always the most efficient approach. In this comprehensive presentation, David reveals alternatives to VLOOKUP, including XLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX/MATCH, IF, IFS, IFNA, SUMIF, SUMIFS, and the CHOOSE function.

Professionals who can benefit by using a variety of lookup functions to work more efficiently in Excel.

  • Apply a variety of lookup functions in order to work more efficiently in Excel.
  • Recognize why the INDEX and MATCH combination is often superior to VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP.
  • Apply the SUMIF and SUMIFS functions.

David demonstrates every technique at least twice: first, on a PowerPoint slide with numbered steps, and second, in the subscription-based Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) version of Excel. David draws your attention to any differences in the older versions of Excel (2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, and earlier) during the presentation as well as in his detailed handouts. David also provides an Excel workbook that includes most of the examples he uses during the webcast.

Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based product that provides new feature updates as often as monthly. Conversely, the perpetual licensed versions of Excel have feature sets that don't change. Perpetual licensed versions have year numbers, such as Excel 2019, Excel 2016, and so on.

Areas Covered

  • Auditing portions of a formula by using the F9 key to temporarily convert part of a formula to a value.
  • Avoiding the complexity of nested IF statements with Excel’s CHOOSE function.
  • Comparing two cells directly to return TRUE or FALSE if they’re exactly the same or not without using IF.
  • Contrasting the INDEX and MATCH combination to VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP.
  • Demonstrating how XLOOKUP can look up and down columns or across rows.
  • Diagnosing #N/A errors that arise when numbers are stored as text or when text contains extraneous spaces.
  • Discovering how to use wildcards and multiple criteria within lookup formulas.
  • Displaying alternate results with XLOOKUP by populating the If_Not_Found argument instead of using IFERROR or IFNA.
  • Distinguishing how wildcards work with Excel's XLOOKUP function
  • Employing the SUMIF function to sum values related to multiple instances of criteria you specify.
  • Enabling VLOOKUP to look up data from the left (instead of only from the right) by using the CHOOSE function.
  • Explaining the XLOOKUP worksheet function available in Microsoft 365 and Excel 2021.
  • Exploring the nuances of wildcard lookups with XLOOKUP.
  • Identifying situations where VLOOKUP may return #N/A instead of a value.
  • Incorporating decisions into calculations with Excel's IF function.
  • Learning about the IFNA function available in Excel 2013 and later.
  • Learning what types of user actions can trigger #REF! errors.
  • Looking up data to the left or right of a given column with XLOOKUP.
  • Overcoming the duplicate data trap that XLOOKUP can present.
  • Performing dual lookups, which allow you to look across columns and down rows to cross-reference the data you need.
  • Returning multiple columns of data with XLOOKUP from a single formula by using Microsoft 365's dynamic array functionality (as well as in Excel 2021).
  • Streamlining the decision-making process with the IFS function in Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) and Excel 2021.
  • Transforming numbers stored as text into values by way of the Text to Columns wizard.
  • Understanding how the VLOOKUP function allows you to look up data instead of having to manually reference individual cells.
  • Understanding the nuances of approximate matches with XLOOKUP, which can be greater than or less than the look-up value.
  • Understanding the risks and complications of nesting too many levels of IF functions.
  • Using the HLOOKUP function to look horizontally across rows in any version of Excel.
  • Using the MATCH function to find the position of an item in a list.
  • Using the SUMIFS function to sum values based on multiple criteria.
  • Using VLOOKUP to perform approximate matches.
  • Using XLOOKUP to search lists from the bottom up to find the last match (instead of only the first match with VLOOKUP).
  • Viewing the pros, cons, and limitations of nesting IF functions.
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David H. Ringstrom's Avatar

David H. Ringstrom

Microsoft Excel Expert

Acclaimed Microsoft Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA, is the president and owner of Accounting Advisors, Inc. based in Atlanta, Georgia. David founded Accounting Advisors in 1991 as a consulting-services business, but in 2009, he began teaching for continuing education providers as well. His mission since then has been to offer quality training on Excel and additional accounting software via live webcasts, on-demand self-study webcasts, and in-house engagements. More than 24 providers, located throughout the country as well as overseas, now look to David for their Excel and accounting software training needs. David’s Excel courses cover the gamut of the software’s features and functions to provide CPAs as well as accounting and financial professionals the knowledge they need to work more efficiently and effectively in Excel. David is known for saying, “Either you work Excel, or it works you.” Based on this belief, he focuses on teaching users what they don’t know but should know about Excel. His comprehensive yet easy to understand presentations cover Excel 2016, 2013, 2010, and 2007. David’s webcasts are fast paced, and he welcomes attendees’ questions. In addition, his detailed handouts and slides serve as handy reference tools students can fall back on after participating in his webcasts or taking his self-study courses.