vlookup too limiting...


New Member
Jul 26, 2010
Hi guys...
I have an issue...
I'm trying to create something of an automatic grocery list everytime I select what dish we will eat for which day of the week...
Let me explain...
I have a sheet where I have the ingredients for each dish:

In a separate sheet I have an input list where I can select what dish I will eat on what day (can be multiple dishes per day, e.g. lunch and dinner)...

What I want to have now automatically on yet another sheet, is a grocery list, which basically looks for the dishes on the weekplanner, and provides all the ingredients of the chosen dishes for that week...

BUT I'm struggling very hard...
VLOOKUP only gives me 1 ingredient out of the ingredient list...

Any suggestions on making this a simple yet very effective project?

Cheers upfront... :)
Regards, Bas

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Stu Dapples

Active Member
Jan 12, 2009
You need to tell Excel to look for each iteration of the item you are looking for, then return all the offset columns in the following rows. Someone on here sent me the formula to do but I cant access my network drives at the moment so I cant send it to you!

If you search for "return multiple iterations of the same value" you should see a thread I started a few weeks back, there is a formula in there which I believe will do the job for you....


New Member
Jul 26, 2010
Thanks Stu,
but I am probably really daft at this...
The solution on the post you referred me to doesn't make any sense to me.
I mean, it probably makes a lot of sense, but I just don't understand it...
No idea how that would apply to my tables etc...
You're saying I need to 'reiterate' the vlookup 8 times per dish (since there's about 8 ingredients per dish), and then again reiterate x 7 for the days of the week and reiterate x 3 for the meals per days... That's a lot of vlookup formulas, and they don't easily copy, it's all manual)...
Or am I getting it wrong?


Well-known Member
Aug 12, 2009
Are macros out of the question? With a little piece of code you could get this done quite easily.

Also, you might want to change your database a little bit to move the volume numbers in their own cells and type them in the database per serving: if you know you're having friends come over for dinner you're going to need more tomatoes than usually.

This way you could have all the ingredients listed on a single row for the whole week.

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