# VLOOKUP matches

R

#### REJesser

I am attempting to create a Random Drug Screen Identifier. I can handle the
whole random number creation. What I haven't been able to figure out is how
can I have the name associated with the number identified. For example, I
have in the first column, the number 1. Each cell below counts up...=A1+1;
=A2+1, etc. The next column (B) is devoted to the last names of the
employees. The next is employee first names (C). Column D generates 10
random numbers from 1 to the total current number of employees. I can
certainly print out the list of employees and, by hand, highlight those
numbers which were generated. I would prefer the worksheet do that for me.
I have tried the VLOOKUP command... =VLOOKUP(D1,A1:A150,2). I had hoped that
this would actually list the name identified with the first random number.
The next number would be =VLOOKUP(D2,A1:A150,2) and so on. It ain't workin'.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.

J

#### John Bundy

Add ,False to the end as so:
=VLOOKUP(D1,A1:A150,2,False)

J

#### John C

Look in help under VLOOKUP parameters. It has 3 required and 1 optional
argument.
VLOOKUP(lookup_value,table,column,TRUE/FALSE)
lookup_value I think is fine, but you define your table as A1:A150, and then
are trying to pull the second column of the table, which doesn't exist. You
need to expand your table reference
For example:
=VLOOKUP(D1,\$A\$1:\$C\$150,2,FALSE)&", "&VLOOKUP(D1,\$A\$1:\$C\$150,3,FALSE)

S

#### Sheeloo

Use
=VLOOKUP(D1,A1:B150,2).

i.e. change A150 to B150

J

#### John Bundy

Just noticed you will need to make it
=VLOOKUP(D1,A1:B150,2,False)
forgot the b

R

#### REJesser

Thanks for your help. And now for a new challenge...

Your suggestion worked out great except when more than one individual has
the same last name. When that takes place, the first person with that last
name is identified.

Ex.
1. Smith, Alvin
2. Smith, Brian
3. Smith, Cory

Even when the #3 is randomly generated, Alvin Smith is still identified.

R

#### REJesser

That always returns a value of #N/A

John Bundy said:
Just noticed you will need to make it
=VLOOKUP(D1,A1:B150,2,False)
forgot the b

S

#### ShaneDevenshire

Hi,

Such a time! Since the number in the first column are in order 1, A1+1,...
the VLOOKUP is not failing because of the last argurment. For exact matches
the sort order is not important, for approximate matches the sort must by
ascending on the lookup column, but your is.

So the most likely problem is that the random numbers are not numbers, they
are text or the numbers in column A are text, less likely. This problem and
its solutions are discussed below:

Problem:
When numbers are enter as text they may not calculate within formulas as
they should. A few formulas will work fine despite the numbers being entered
as text. Numbers can be stored as text by 1. preformatting the cell to Text
and entering the number, 2. Typing an apostrophy in front of the number '123,
3. Because the data was downloaded from a soure inwhich it was stored as a
number, 4. Because you used the Text to Columns command and converted it to
text., and....

There is no sure indicator that a number is stored as text, although numbers
are usually right aligned and text left aligned, this may not be the case.
If you are using a later version of Excel, Error Checking green triangles may
appear at the top left corner of these cell, but this feature may be off or
the version of Excel may not support it. (2000 and earlier).

You can find out what data type the entries are by using the =ISTEXT(A1) or
=ISNUMBER(A1) functions. You can not tell by checking the Format. If a
number was entered in a cell preformatted as General or as a number, then it
will be a number, even if it's current format is Text. Likewise a number
entered in a cell preformatted as Text will be text even if it's current
format is Number, General, Date, Currency and the like.

Solution:
1. Change the format to one that is numeric and then reenter the numbers
(too slow and error prone.)
2. Select the cells and open the Error Checking options and choose Convert
to Numbers.
3. Select an empty cell and copy it. Select the text number cell and choose
Edit, Paste Special, Add (or Subtract). This method is ~100 times faster
than #2.

Dates are numbers, and if they are stored as text, you will not get an Error
Checking triangle, so method #3 is obligatory if there is a substantial
number of dates to convert.

J

#### John C

My formula given should give you last name, first name. If you are getting
the same person every time, perhaps you should share with us how you are
generating the random number?

R

#### REJesser

Using the ISNUMBER function, both the first column and the random numbers
return a value of TRUE. Thanks for taking the time to pen such a detailed
explanation. Do you know of any other possible fixes? Thanks again.

R

#### REJesser

=RND()*(\$F\$15)+A\$1

F15 is the total number of employees
F16 is the number of open positions

F15 is determined by subtracting the number of open positions (F16) from the
total number of positions (150)

F15 = 150-F16
F16 = COUNTIF(B1:B150,"")

R

#### REJesser

You are correct. It is RAND().

David Biddulph said:
I assume that you meant RAND(), not RND() ?

R

#### REJesser

Perhaps I didn't do a good job of explaining the new opportunity facing me.
The same person is not always returned. As long as the last names the random
numbers correspond to are unique, everything works perfect. If, however,
there are two or more folks with the same last name, the first person
(alphabetically by first name) with that last name is selected.

So...

1. Britt, Justin
2. Britt, Wesley
3. Bryant, Bear
4. Namath, Joe
5. Saban, Nick
6. Stabler, Ken
7. Starr, Bart
8. Thomas, Derrick

Suppose that the two random numbers generated are 4 and 2. The names that
would be listed are:

Namath, Joe
Britt, Justin (should have been his brother Britt, Wesley)

F

#### Fred Smith

Why bother using Vlookup at all? If you are generating a random number,
simply use that as the row number for the name you want.

Regards,
Fred.

R

#### REJesser

You will have to excuse my ignorance. How would I go about doing that?

S

#### Sheeloo

In case you did not then use this in E1 to get the first name for the number
in D1
=INDEX(A:C,D1,3)

If you want the last name too, then enter this in F1
=INDEX(A:B,D1,2)

F

#### Fred Smith

Use the Index function, as in: