The VLOOKUP function does not handle multiple criteria natively. However, if you have control over source data, you can use a helper column to join multiple fields together, and use these fields like multiple criteria inside VLOOKUP. In the example shown, Column B is a helper column that concatenates first and last names together, and VLOOKUP does the same to build a lookup value. The formula in I6 is:


where "data" is the named range B4:F104

Note: This approach is simple, but limited. For a more powerful solution that does not require a helper column, see this advanced formula based on Boolean logic. Also consider a more direct approach based on INDEX and MATCH or XLOOKUP.

Generic formula



In the example shown, we want to look up employee departments and groups using VLOOKUP by matching the first and last name of an employee.

One limitation of VLOOKUP is that it only handles one condition: the lookup_value, which is matched against the first column in the table. This makes it difficult to use VLOOKUP to find a value using multiple criteria. However, if you have control over the source data, you can add a helper column that concatenates 2 or more fields together, and then give VLOOKUP a lookup value that does the same.

The helper column joins field values from columns that are used as criteria, and it must be the first column of the table. Inside the VLOOKUP function, the lookup value itself is also created by joining the same criteria.

In the example shown, the formula in I6 is:


Once I4 and I5 are joined, we have:


VLOOKUP locates "JonVictor" on the 5th row in "data", and returns the value in the 4th column, "Marketing".

Setting things up

To set up a multiple criteria VLOOKUP, follow these 3 steps:

  1. Add a helper column and concatenate (join) values from the columns you want to use for your criteria.
  2. Set up VLOOKUP to refer to a table that includes the helper column. The helper column must be the first column in the table.
  3. For the lookup value, join the same values in the same order to match the values in the helper column.
  4. Make sure VLOOKUP is set to perform an exact match.
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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.