Vlookup Function About To Get Much Easier As “Relationships” In Excel 2013

Excel spreadsheets (.xls)

Vlookup functions are difficult to understand initially and while they become very powerful once you do fully understand how to use them, I can tell you from the dozens of requests that I get every month that the concept remains very difficult to understand. Microsoft is trying to make life easier for users by changing the concept again. Here is the direct quote from CFO’s excel 2013 preview:

Relationships instead of VLOOKUP. If you add your worksheets to the pedestrian “Data Model” feature, you can use the Relationships icon to define that CustID in your million row transaction worksheet is related to CustNumber in your customer worksheet. Now, without doing millions of VLOOKUPs, you can create pivot tables from the data on both worksheets. Whether you’re sick of people who feel superior because they can do VLOOKUP, or someone who does VLOOKUP in their sleep, no one can argue that creating a relationship in 3 clicks is faster than waiting for a million VLOOKUPs to recalculate.

This might work although it will simply make other parts more difficult. I’m assuming that having the right column headers will become very important as Excel 2013 will try to guess how data interacts with each other. It will certainly be very interesting to see. I’m curious, do you expect to upgrade to Excel 2013 as soon as possible? I will certainly start moving soon although I do use cloud computing a lot more than I did just a few months ago so it will only impact my more complex spreadsheets. If ever you’d like to access a preview version, you can try going here.


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