Today my LinkedIn news feed is awash with announcements of the new XLOOKUP function announced by Microsoft.

I have for a long time questioned the relevance of any form of LOOKUP formula in Excel.


Because the simplest and most robust, most practical way to ‘lookup’ one set of data against another (or others) is the simple method of joining tables, and then filtering the result as required.

But, joining tables is traditionally not in the ‘spreadsheet vocabulary’. (see my argument that that’s because we couldn’t ‘join’ paper spreadsheets)

Shouldn’t ‘joins’ be in the Excel vocabulary? And will it become part of the spreadsheet vocabulary soon-ish, given that new techniques of ‘modern Excel’ involve a data model?

If so, why are the same people who are excited about data model (PowerQuery, PowerPivot) also now excited about XLOOKUP?

Or am I missing something?

Hiran de Silva

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