DLookup Function

Access for Microsoft 365, Access 2019, Access 2016, Access 2013, Access 2010, Access 2007.

In Access desktop databases you can use the DLookup function to get the value of a particular field from a specified set of records (a domain). Use the DLookup function in a Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) module, a macro, a query expression, or a calculated control on a form or report.

Note: This article doesn’t apply to Access web apps.

You can use the DLookup function to display the value of a field that isn’t in the record source for your form or report. For example, suppose you have a form based on an Order Details table. The form displays the OrderID, ProductID, UnitPrice, Quantity, and Discount fields. However, the ProductName field is in another table, the Products table. You could use the DLookup function in a calculated control to display the ProductName on the same form.


DLookup( expr, domain [, criteria)

The DLookup function syntax has these arguments:

exprRequired. An expression that identifies the field whose value you want to return. It can be a string expression identifying a field in a table or query, or it can be an expression that performs a calculation on data in that field. In expr, you can include the name of a field in a table, a control on a form, a constant, or a function. If expr includes a function, it can be either built-in or user-defined, but not another domain aggregate or SQL aggregate function.
domainRequired. A string expression identifying the set of records that constitutes the domain. It can be a table name or a query name for a query that does not require a parameter.
criteriaOptional. A string expression used to restrict the range of data on which the DLookup function is performed. For example, criteria is often equivalent to the WHERE clause in an SQL expression, without the word WHERE. If criteria is omitted, the DLookup function evaluates expr against the entire domain. Any field that is included in criteria must also be a field in domain; otherwise, the DLookup function returns a Null.


The DLookup function returns a single field value based on the information specified in criteria. Although criteria is an optional argument, if you don’t supply a value for criteria, the DLookup function returns a random value in the domain.

If no record satisfies criteria or if domain contains no records, the DLookup function returns a Null.

If more than one field meets criteria, the DLookup function returns the first occurrence. You should specify criteria that will ensure that the field value returned by the DLookup function is unique. You may want to use a primary key value for your criteria, such as [EmployeeID] in the following example, to ensure that the DLookup function returns a unique value:

Dim varX As Variant
varX = DLookup("[LastName]", "Employees", _
"[EmployeeID] = 1")

Whether you use the DLookup function in a macro or module, a query expression, or a calculated control, you must construct the criteria argument carefully to ensure that it will be evaluated correctly.

You can use the DLookup function to specify criteria in the Criteria row of a query, within a calculated field expression in a query, or in the Update To row in an update query.

You can also use the DLookup function in an expression in a calculated control on a form or report if the field that you need to display isn’t in the record source on which your form or report is based. For example, suppose you have an Order Details form based on an Order Details table with a text box called ProductID that displays the ProductID field. To look up ProductName from a Products table based on the value in the text box, you could create another text box and set its ControlSource property to the following expression:

=DLookup(“[ProductName]”, “Products”, “[ProductID] =” & Forms![Order Details]!ProductID)


  • Although you can use the DLookup function to display a value from a field in a foreign table, it may be more efficient to create a query that contains the fields that you need from both tables and then to base your form or report on that query.
  • You can also use the Lookup Wizard to find values in a foreign table.

Note: Unsaved changes to records in domain aren’t included when you use this function. If you want the DLookup function to be based on the changed values, you must first save the changes by clicking Save Record under Records on the Data tab, moving the focus to another record, or by using the Update method.


Note: Examples that follow demonstrate the use of this function in a Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) module. For more information about working with VBA, select Developer Reference in the drop-down list next to Search and enter one or more terms in the search box.

The following example returns name information from the CompanyName field of the record satisfying criteria. The domain is a Shippers table. The criteria argument restricts the resulting set of records to those for which ShipperID equals 1.

Dim varX As Variant
varX = DLookup("[CompanyName]", _
"Shippers", "[ShipperID] = 1")

The next example from the Shippers table uses the form control ShipperID to provide criteria for the DLookup function. Note that the reference to the control isn’t included in the quotation marks that denote the strings. This ensures that each time the DLookup function is called, Access will obtain the current value from the control.

Dim varX As Variant
varX = DLookup("[CompanyName]", "Shippers", _
"[ShipperID] = " & Forms!Shippers!ShipperID)

The next example uses a variable, intSearch, to get the value.

Dim intSearch As Integer
Dim varX As Variant
intSearch = 1
varX = DLookup("[CompanyName]", "Shippers", _
"[ShipperID] = " & intSearch)

This information was compiled using information courtesy of © Microsoft 2020. All rights reserved.

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