Hello guys, welcome back!! So, you got here looking up to practical uses of approximate match in VLOOKUP function of excel, right?

First, let me explain what is VLOOKUP and what it does? Here you go.

VLOOKUP is a very commonly used yet crucial tool of Microsoft excel. It’s been made to extract that very data you desire from that very deep pool, which’s not easy to fetch one after another.

If you do not know what is exact match in VLOOKUP function, it is recommend having a quick view of my earlier blog on How to use VLOOKUP in excel?

I am going to guide you step by step how to use Approximate match in VLOOKUP function.

## Function of VLOOKUP:

=Vlookup (lookup_value, table_array, index_num, [range_lookup])

If you observe, [range lookup] argument is given in square bracket!! Square bracket shows that it is an optional argument. By default, VLOOKUP takes range lookup as Exact match (0).

## Problem 1: Use of VLOOKUP when we need to look value from range of data:

Let’s say, we have sales register of Hussain Ltd. from 01.04.2013 to 31.03.2017. Now we want to have financial year wise data for e.g. Period of 01.04.2013 to 31.03.14 should be defined as F.Y. 2013-14 data, 01.04.14 to 31.03.15 => F.Y. 2014-15 and so on. (Pic1)

OH! that’s so simple, just use Pivot table and group date by year wise!! But Pivot follows Calendar Year and we want to have financial year.

Then… What about if function? Yes, if function can be used here to define range, but it will be cumbersome to formulate nested if formula for each argument of financial year.

Hmm…Then…What is the solution??

Here the approximate argument of VLOOKUP can work as life saver.

## Step by step guide to VLOOKUP Approximate Match argument:

1. It’s easy. Just make a new insert new column on the left side of date column. (Shortcut Key = Select any cell of column of date, use “Ctrl plus Space” and then press “Ctrl plus +”.
Give a name to new column, say “F.Y.” (Pic2)