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How to vlookup and return date format instead of number in Excel?

The vlookup function is used frequently in Excel for daily work. For example, you are trying to find a date based on the max value in a specified column with the Vlookup formula =VLOOKUP(MAX(C2:C8), C2:D8, 2, FALSE). However, you may notice that the date is displayed as a serial number instead of date format as below screenshot showed. Except for manually changing the cell formatting to date format, is there any handy way to handle it? This article will show you an easy way to solve this problem.

Vlookup and return date format instead of a number in Excel


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Vlookup and return date format instead of a number in Excel


If you want to get the date based on the max value in a certain column with the Vlookup function, and keep the date format in the destination cell. Please do as follows.

1. Please enter this formula: =TEXT(VLOOKUP(MAX(C2:C8), C2:D8, 2, FALSE),"MM/DD/YY") into a cell and press Enter key to get the correct result. See screenshot:

Note: Please enclose the vlookup formula with TEXT() function. And don’t forget to specify the date format with double quotes at the end of the formula.


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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Helen · 7 days ago
    my date changes to a different year. my formula is =TEXT(VLOOKUP(D4,'payment list (2)'!$B$3:$I$694,7,0),"dd/mm/yyyy")
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    AJAY · 5 months ago
    i need a date with help of vlookup but date entry was 2 and 3 and more. I need last one date when order completed kindly help
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Vicki · 6 months ago
    My Formula =TEXT(VLOOKUP(A2,I2:I931,2,FALSE),"MM/DD/YY") gives me the #REF! error. Any advice?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      sally · 5 months ago
      you need absolute value referencing. with the array selected click the F4 key on your keyboard to include absolute referencing in your array.