The A to Z of Excel Functions: the COLUMN Function
14 August 2017
Welcome back to our regular A to Z of Excel Functions blog. Today we look at the COLUMN function.
The COLUMN function
Ah, it’s time for my Lord of the Rings impersonation. What do I mean? “COLUMN” (try saying it out loud if you don’t understand – this joke is precious). This function returns the column number of the given cell reference. For example, the formula =COLUMN(D10) returns the value 4, because column D represents the fourth column.
The COLUMN function employs the following syntax to operate:
The COLUMN function has the following arguments:
- reference: believe it or not, this is optional and represents the cell or range of cells for which you want to return the column numbe
- if the reference argument is omitted or refers to a range of cells, and if the COLUMN function is entered as a horizontal array formula, the COLUMN function returns the column numbers of reference as an horizontal array
- to enter a formula as an array formula: starting with the formula cell, select the range that you want to contain the array formula. Press the F2 function key and then press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER.
- N.B. in Excel Online you cannot create array formulae
- if the reference argument is a range of cells, and if the COLUMN function is not entered as a horizontal array formula, the COLUMN function returns the number of the leftmost column
- If the reference argument is omitted, it is assumed to be the reference of the cell in which the COLUMN function appears
- The reference argument cannot refer to multiple areas.
Please see my example below:
We’ll continue our A to Z of Excel Functions soon. Keep checking back – there’s a new blog post every other business day.
A full page of the function articles that have already been published can be found here.