Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Determining a State from an Area Code.

Determining a State from an Area Code

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 23, 2017)

2

Steve has phone numbers in column A, such as 3035551212, and would like to be able to look at the first three digits (the area code) and return in column B the state with which that area code is associated. He wonders about the best way to accomplish this.

Excel has many functions that make life easier when you are trying to manipulate data. In this case, using the VLOOKUP function to match the area code to the corresponding state is simple.

Before applying a function to retrieve the information you want, you need to create a simple data table that contains the data you want retrieved. In this table, you need to have the area codes and states in their own columns side-by-side, within your worksheet, sorted by area code. For instance, you might put the area codes in column F and the states for those area codes in column G. The area codes and states can be found on a number of websites, or you can create your own table if you prefer.

Once you've got the data into the two columns, select those columns and create a name for the selected range. (How you create a named range has been covered in other issues of ExcelTips.) For example, you might name the range something like StateCodes. This naming, while not strictly necessary, makes using the lookup formula easier.

Assuming that the phone number is in cell A1 and that you would like the state name returned in the column next to the phone number, in cell B1 you would enter:

=VLOOKUP(VALUE(LEFT(A1,3)),StateCodes,2,FALSE)

The VALUE and LEFT functions are used to pull just the first three characters from the phone number. This is then used in the VLOOKUP formula to find the area code in the StateCodes table. Excel returns the name of the state than corresponds with the area code.

Another way that you can pull out the area code (which is essential for the lookup) is to use the FLOOR function, as shown here:

=VLOOKUP(FLOOR(A1/10000000,1),StateCodes,2,FALSE)

Note that this approach requires that the phone number be stored as a number, so it can be divided by 10,000,000.

The approaches discussed here work great, provided that your phone numbers are always in the specified format (3035551212). If your phone numbers have a different format—perhaps one that uses parentheses and dashes—they the formula won't work and will need to be adjusted to look at where the area code really is in the phone number. If you have phone numbers that are not in a single format, then all bets are off and the task of doing the lookup becomes much, much harder.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8065) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Determining a State from an Area Code.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Condensing Figure Caption References

Word can automatically add captions to your figures. You can then reference those captions from within your document. If you ...

Discover More

Center-column Footnotes

Ever want to change the formatting of your footnotes? This tip explains what you can and can't do in Word.

Discover More

Alerts About Approaching Due Dates

You may use Excel to track due dates for a variety of purposes. As a due date approaches, you may want that fact drawn to ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Last Non-Zero Value in a Row

If you have a lot of values in a single row, you might want to pull the last non-zero value from that row. There are a ...

Discover More

Getting a Conditional Count of Cells Containing Values

Excel provides several worksheet functions that can be used to count cells containing values—particularly numeric ...

Discover More

Cell and Name References in COUNTIF

The second parameter of the COUNTIF function is used to specify the criteria to be used when determining what should be ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 0?

2017-06-23 11:46:25

Neil

I'm no expert, but I use VLOOKUP regularly because it works well and is easy to see what is happening. I've used index and match, but they are complexity overkill for simple tasks like the one above. Not sure what sorting dangers there are, but I've run into the issue of the table array range moving down as I copy a VLOOKUP formula down a column. You just have to remember to make your array range reference absolute so it doesn't change as you copy the formula. You also have to make sure the values you are referencing are in column 1 of your table array.


2017-06-23 03:44:17

Philippe C

Am suprised the vlookup functions are still mentioned (or somehow advertised) whereas I thought the combination of the index and match functions are much more powerful and less "dangerous" to be used (no nasty impact of any sorting actions). What do the experts think about this?


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.