Using Excel Sumif or Vlookup Functions

Excel function tutorials

One of the questions that we have been receiving quite a bit in recent months has been regarding the difference between the Sumif and Vlookup functions in excel. They are fairly different but there is some confusion regarding their use. Let’s start off by explaining both:

-Sumif function: Is used to sum the quantity (or any other data in a separate column) for a specific criteria. We already wrote about this function, you can find out more about the sumif and countif functions
-Vlookup function: Is used to find a reference associated to a specific criteria

These are the formulas used:

=SUMIF(A:A,”Strawberry”,B:B)
=VLOOKUP(“Strawberry”,A:B,2,FALSE)

When do you use each one?

Vlookup

-If you only have one sample for each “fruit”
-If the data you are looking for is not a number
-If you want to easily spot a “missing fruit” – vlookup will give you a “N/A” result when a vlookup returns no results

Sumif

-If you have more than one sample
-If you want to avoid getting “N/A” errors that will screw up calculations in your spreadsheet

Does that explain it well enough?

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