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One common issue I face is "How can I have VLOOKUP return a 0 or a empty string "" instead of #N/A! ?"

Let's assume that the current formula is

or more condensed

one approach to do this is as follows

=IF(ISNA(VLOOKUP(A1,$B$2:$D$100,3,0)),””, VLOOKUP(A1,$B$2:$D$100,3,0))

but this requires Excel calculating TWICE the VLOOKUP formula which is “expensive” in terms of efficiency.

One improved method is

=IF(COUNTIF($B$2:$B$100,A1), VLOOKUP(A1,$B$2:$D$100,3,0),””)

This way the VLOOKUP is only calculated if the value in A1 exists in B2:B100, and therefor, VLOOKUP won’t return a #N/A!

By Juan Pablo Gonzalez on 17-Jan-2002 Consulting can be hired to implement this concept, or many other cool applications, with your data. provides examples of Visual Basic procedures for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. The Visual Basic procedures on this web site are provided "as is" and we do not guarantee that they can be used in all situations.


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