COLUMN function

The COLUMN function in Excel is a simple and handy tool that helps you find the column number of a given cell reference. It is useful for tasks like referencing data from a specific column or for creating dynamic formulas that require column number inputs. In this guide, we’ll break down the function’s summary, syntax, usage, and provide examples to help you understand it better.


The syntax for the Excel COLUMN function is:


Here’s a table outlining the function’s arguments:

[reference](Optional) The cell reference for which you want to find the column number. If omitted, the function will return the column number of the cell it’s used in.

How to Use

The COLUMN function is straightforward to use. Let’s explore it with some examples:

Example 1: Finding the Column Number of a Cell

If you want to find the column number of a specific cell, you can use the following formula:

This formula will return the column number of cell A1, which is 1 because A is the first column.

Example 2: Using COLUMN Without an Argument

If you use the COLUMN function without an argument, it will return the column number of the cell it’s in. For instance, if you enter this formula in cell B2:

It will return 2, as it’s in the second column (B).

Example 3: Combining COLUMN with Other Functions

You can use the COLUMN function in combination with other functions for more advanced tasks. For example, you can use it with the INDEX function to dynamically retrieve data from a specific column. Here’s an example:

This formula will return the value from the cell in the same row as A1 and the same column as A1, creating a flexible way to extract data.

Remember that the COLUMN function is most useful when you need to work with column numbers dynamically, making your Excel spreadsheets more adaptable and efficient.

Tomasz Decker is an Excel specialist, skilled in data analysis and financial modeling.