# Troubleshooting VLOOKUP: Fixing Out of Bounds Errors

Have you ever been frustrated by an out of bounds error when using VLOOKUP in Excel? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This common error can occur when the range you’ve specified in your VLOOKUP formula doesn’t match the data you’re trying to retrieve. But fear not, because troubleshooting VLOOKUP out of bounds errors is simpler than you might think, and I’m here to guide you through it.

## Step by Step Tutorial for Troubleshooting VLOOKUP Out of Bounds Errors

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that by following these instructions, you’ll be able to ensure your VLOOKUP range is correctly set up to avoid out of bounds errors.

### Step 1: Check Your VLOOKUP Range

Ensure the range you’ve specified in your VLOOKUP formula includes all the data you need to search.

An out of bounds error usually means that the range is either too small or not starting from the correct row or column. Double-check that the range starts from the first row or column of your data set and extends to include all the data you need.

### Step 2: Expand Your VLOOKUP Range if Necessary

If your range is too small, adjust it to include all relevant data.

If you find that your range doesn’t cover all the data, simply expand it to cover all rows and columns that contain the data you’re searching for. Remember, it’s better to have a range that’s too large than one that’s too small.

### Step 3: Check for Hidden Rows or Columns

Make sure there are no hidden rows or columns in your VLOOKUP range.

Sometimes, hidden rows or columns can cause out of bounds errors. Unhide any hidden rows or columns to ensure they are included in the VLOOKUP range.

### Step 4: Ensure Your Table is Sorted Correctly

If you’re using an approximate match in VLOOKUP, make sure your table is sorted in ascending order.

For approximate matches, VLOOKUP requires that the first column in your range is sorted in ascending order. If it’s not, you could see out of bounds errors.

### Step 5: Use Absolute References

Use absolute references for your range to avoid out of bounds errors when copying the formula.

Absolute references (using \$ signs) will keep your range fixed, even if you copy the formula to another cell. This helps prevent accidentally changing the range and causing an out of bounds error.

After completing these steps, your VLOOKUP formula should work without any out of bounds errors. You’ll be able to retrieve the correct data without any frustration.

## Tips for Troubleshooting VLOOKUP Out of Bounds Errors

• Always double-check that your range includes the entire data set you want to search.
• Expand your range if it’s too small, but try to avoid including unnecessary data.
• Unhide any hidden rows or columns to ensure they’re included in your VLOOKUP range.
• Sort your table in ascending order if you’re using an approximate match.
• Use absolute references to keep your range fixed when copying formulas.

### What does an out of bounds error in VLOOKUP mean?

An out of bounds error means that the range specified in your VLOOKUP formula does not include the data you’re trying to find.

### How do I fix an out of bounds error?

To fix an out of bounds error, check and adjust your VLOOKUP range to ensure it includes all necessary data.

### Can hidden rows or columns cause out of bounds errors?

Yes, hidden rows or columns that are not included in your VLOOKUP range can cause out of bounds errors.

### Why is sorting important for VLOOKUP?

Sorting is important for approximate matches in VLOOKUP because the function requires the first column of your range to be sorted in ascending order.

### Should I use absolute references in my VLOOKUP formula?

Yes, using absolute references helps prevent your range from changing unintentionally when copying the formula, which can lead to out of bounds errors.