Smart Lookup in #Excel 2016 or later

Have your heard of Smart Lookup?  Don’t confuse it with Excel Functions.  It is nothing related to formula writing in Excel.  Simply consider it is a web search engine (Bing) embedded in Excel.

Watch it in action, and you will see!

Excel Tip - Smart Lookup or Google it

HERE’s the description from about Smart Lookup.

This is something cool, with no doubt.  It will become great only when you’ve found a practical Use Case of it.

Who will look up something from a spreadsheet??

That’s my question…. until recently.

I am preparing my next in-house Excel Training – Dashboard Workshop.

Instead of using “boring” business data for the workshop, I tried to do something more interesting, or at least less boring.  While I was thinking about what data to be used for creating an Excel Dashboard, I overheard a “elevator conversation” among colleagues. They was joking about what to do when next super typhoon hits Hong Kong.

In case you don’t know, the super typhoon MANGKHUT hit Hong Kong badly last year.  And one of the office buildings nearby waterfront was badly hit. 😦

There was a flash coming into my mind –  Let’s create a dashboard about Tropical Cyclones warnings in Hong Kong history.

In the process of creating the dashboard, I think it would be interesting to find out which typhoon affected Hong Kong longest in terms of duration.  That’s an easy piece of a dashboard.

What if I can also pull some information of the typhoon?

It will be great for a dashboard…  BUT you know, if we need to do so as part of the dashboard, it means that I have to find a proper data source that carries the information of all typhoons.  Well…… that’s too much for a beginner level Dashboard workshop.

All a sudden, Smart Lookup came to my mind.

Consider this: The content in A5 is a dynamic result.  If we click on the cell and then we can see the information about it…  Isn’t it great?  

Excel Tip - Smart Lookup.PNG

Yes.  It is!… IF a user doesn’t have to right-click on it to do the Smart Lookup.

Excel Tip - Smart Lookup1


How can we ask a dashboard user to do the Smart Lookup?  Do we use a comment like this?

Excel Tip - Smart Lookup2


Honestly, although it is only two clicks away from something cool… do you really think a regular user will follow the instruction, esp. when majority of people has no idea what Smart Lookup is?  That’s my first question.

Thus, I tried to record a macro to get the code to activate Smart Lookup… but in vain.  Also tried to google about it, in vain too…. 😦

Another question:

What if the dashboard user is not using Excel 2016 nor 365?

We know the answer.  Smart Lookup even though is cool, it may not be a viable solution for my case.

As such, I’ve decided to use an easy alternative:

Send user to Google search based on the cell content with dynamic hyperlink.

Again, a picture tells thousand words.  Let’s watch it in action:

Excel Tip - Smart Lookup or Google it1

How to setup the dynamic hyperlink?

That will be the topic of next post.  Stay tuned! 🙂


BTW, how do you use Smart Lookup?  If you have practical use case of it, please share in comments. 🙂





About MF

An Excel nerd who just transition into a role related to data analytics at current company......😊 Recently in love with Power Query and Power BI.😍 Keep learning new Excel and Power BI stuffs and be amazed by all the new discoveries.
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