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Determining Columns in a Range

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Determining Columns in a Range.

One of the handy worksheet functions provided by Excel allows you to determine the number of columns in a range. This is accomplished through the use of the COLUMNS function. For instance, consider the following formula:


The value returned is 3, since the range includes columns B, C, and D. You are not limited to address ranges (such as B2:D15), but can also used named ranges with the COLUMNS function.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2432) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Determining Columns in a Range.

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Comments for this tip:

Dave Onorato    01 Aug 2015, 10:29
The function also works without a row reference. In the example above, the formula could be =COLUMNS(B:D) and would produce the same result, 3.

Also, this function works in many versions of Excel (of course).

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