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Excel/Iserror and vlookup function


I am trying to understand the below formula.
=IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(B3, '3.4.2015'!B:C, 2, FALSE)), 0, VLOOKUP(B3, '3.4.2015'!B:C, 2, FALSE))

I am not an expert so please help me to understand below questions.
1. I have not used ISERROR formula before so if you can please explain what formula does?
2. Benefit of this formula vs. Vlookup.
3. Also, I am trying use the formula by changing reference option "3.4.2015" to different reference and it is not working, without changing anything else int he formula.

Your help is appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Is error is the condition passed to the IF statement.  If vlookup can't find the value being lookedup, it returns a #NA error.  Rather than display that error the formula is designed to show a zero.

If if does not return an error, it means it was successful.  Then the vlookup function is executed again and the returned value is displayed.

A new function call IFERROR was added in Excel 2007 and later.  It avoids doing to Vlookups.  

IFERROR(VLOOKUP(B3, '3.4.2015'!B:C, 2, FALSE),0)

would be equivalent to your formula.

'3.4.2015'  would refer to your sheet name where the data is.  You should be able to replace it with any valid sheet name.  The easiest thing to do would be to select the formula in the formula bar, highlight the just the '3.4.2015'!B:C

then navigate to the new sheet and select the two columns and hit enter.

this should put the new reference in the formula. You would do this twice with the original formula or just copy the new reference and replace the old reference in the other part of the formula.

Tom Ogilvy  
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Tom Ogilvy


Selected as an Excel MVP by Microsoft since 1999. Answering Excel questions in Allexperts since its inception in 2001. Able to answer questions on almost all aspects of Excel's internal capabilities. If seeking a VBA solution, please specify that in your question itself so I give you the answer you want. [Excel has weak protection - if you are distributing an application, I don't answer questions on how to protect your project from your users.]


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