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Retrieving the Last Value in a Column

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: Retrieving the Last Value in a Column.

You may wonder if there is a way to return the last (not largest) value in a column. For instance, if there are values in A1 through A5, then you may want the value in A5 returned. Later, if values were added in A6 through A8, then the value in A8 should be returned.

There are a couple of ways that a solution can be approached. The first is to use a formula such as the following:


This formula returns the last numeric value in a column, providing that the values begin at (in this case) A1. This approach only works if all the values in the column are numeric. If the values are non-numeric, or if there are blank cells intermixed with the values, then a different approach is necessary. One way is to copy the following formula into column B, just to the right of the cells that may contain values:


In this case, the formula returns the row number of any cell in A which contains a numeric value greater than zero. The following formula can then be used to retrieve the last value in column A:


This formula works because it returns the largest row number from column B, and then uses that as an index to return the corresponding value from column A.

If your range of data contains a mixture of numeric and non-numeric values (and, perhaps, even some blank cells intermixed in the range), then you might consider the following formula:


The way this formula works may not be evident at first. The ISBLANK portion returns an array that contains a True or False value for each cell in column A, depending on whether that cell is blank or not. That True or False value (which is really a 1 or 0) is subtracted from 1 so that you end up with the True values being 0 and the False values being 1.

The next step is to use the 1 or 0 values as the dividend in 1/x. This effectively "inverts" the value, and you end up with either 1 (1/1) or a #DIV/0! error (1/0). Remember that this is an array that is then used as a parameter to the LOOKUP function. What is being searched for in the array is the value 2, which does not exist there. (Remember that the array contains only the values 1 or an error value.) The LOOKUP function actually ignores all the error values in the array, and so it returns the offset, within the range A:A, of the last array element that contains a 1 value. This corresponds to the last cell in the range that is non-blank.

As you can tell, returning the last value in a column can get a bit tricky at times. A clean approach is to simply develop your own VBA function that returns the desired value. In this case you can program the function to return any value—not just numeric values. A fine example of such a function is available at John Walkenbach's Web site. Check out the following:


ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2512) 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: Retrieving the Last Value in a Column.

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Comments for this tip:

Joe S    28 Sep 2016, 09:53
Thanks! This worked perfectly for me. I just had to add in what worksheet I was pulling the data from and everything is good to go!
Pieter    11 Aug 2016, 15:51
A variant to the original formula gives the row number instead of the value of the last filled row:
This can be used to construct the address of that cell.
sandeep    10 Aug 2016, 16:48
=LOOKUP(2,1/(1-ISBLANK(A:A)),A:A) this formula works perfectly fine. My question is how to get a reference of a last cell which loopup found.

Bruce Johnson    30 Mar 2016, 10:34
Please help, I have a multi-tab spreadsheet. One tab is my Totals spreadsheet and the other is my IRA's. On my Totals spreadsheet I want to sum of the last entries of two different columns on my IRA's spreadsheet. These last entries are not a total of their respective previous entries, they are just the current asset values. So I am trying to sum the last entry of IRA-a and IRA-b on my totals tab.
Dritero    30 Mar 2016, 03:34
Many thanks for this useful and very clear article!
J. E. Dixon    03 Mar 2016, 12:28
I need a VB code to let me do the following: 1) Select a variable range from a column of cells (call it the High’s column) – I would like to be able to change this manually at the start of this activity; 2) Find the maximum numeric value in that range (Max 1) and place this in another column on the same worksheet; 3) Record the row number and date of that cell from adjacent columns to that cell on the applicable worksheet in two different columns; 4) Reset the start of the variable range to the maximum value just found in step # 2; 5) Find the next cell maximum (Max # 2) and record this value in the same column but next cell as Max #1; 6) Record the row number and date of that cell from adjacent columns to that cell on the applicable worksheet in in the same column but next cell as the row number and date recorded in step # 3; 7) Calculate the number of cells between the maximums and record this on worksheet # 2; 8 ) Make a loop and find the next maximum, date and row number for max # 3 and record these as above; 9) Do all of these steps until all data has been examined; 10) For those ranges when no other maximum found in the variable range, go to the next variable range until another maximum is found; 11) include the # of rows in step 10 plus those for this step in the columns used for other data maximums as above.
f.train    01 Dec 2015, 06:50
Hi there

I have a workbook with about 300+ sheets. Each sheet shows certain details about a certain site. The column headers are the same for each sheet, but the number of rows for each sheet is different.

Basically I have the starting sheet with a list of all the site names (sheet names) and I would like to be able to get the last value of every column from L onwards. in this case it will be column L to AQ. This part is pretty straight forward using either lookup, or even index if you can get it right. The problem I have is to be able to drag across to get the last value of each column and then to be able to drag down to retrieve this for each sheet.

Does anyone know to go about this without entering sheet names and cell numbers manually? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Richard    07 Oct 2015, 11:49
Phil - Same for me.

Kenan - let me respond to your "hope this helps" with a value from your table..."no"
Phil    04 Aug 2015, 06:27
Thanks, a modified version of =LOOKUP(2,1/(1-ISBLANK(A:A)),A:A) worked for me also.
Pieter de la Court    31 Jul 2015, 05:49
Peter, that formula COUNTA(A:A) only counts filled cells. Therefore, if you have empty rows in column A, the result will come out wrong.
GM    31 Jul 2015, 03:10
Excellent... This one worked exactly according my requirement.


kenan    09 Jul 2015, 11:13
aaa 1/1/2015 500 yes
aaa 1/2/2015 501 yes
aaa 1/3/2015 502 yes
aaa 1/4/2015 503 yes
aaa 1/5/2015 504 yes
aaa 1/6/2015 505 yes
aaa 1/7/2015 506 yes
aaa 1/8/2015 507 yes
aaa 1/9/2015 508 yes
aaa 1/10/2015 509 yes
aaa 1/11/2015 510 yes
aaa 1/12/2015 511 yes
aaa 1/13/2015 512 no
bbb 1/14/2015 513 yes
bbb 1/15/2015 514 yes
bbb 1/16/2015 515 yes
bbb 1/17/2015 516 yes
bbb 1/18/2015 517 yes
bbb 1/19/2015 518 yes
bbb 1/20/2015 519 yes
bbb 1/21/2015 520 yes
bbb 1/22/2015 521 yes
bbb 1/23/2015 522 no

to get the last record from this table
sort it.. the sort will be done on 1st column and then on date..
then you use the if function which is
=IF(A1=A2,"yes","no") .. where you see no is the last record..
hope this helps.

Peter    03 Apr 2015, 19:53
The first one works much better if you use COUNTA. INDEX(A:A,COUNTA(A:A)) this will return the last cell with anything in it text or not.

For the last three entries hans try =CONCATENATE(INDEX(A:A,COUNTA(A:A))," ",INDEX(A:A,COUNTA(A:A)-1)," ",INDEX(A:A,COUNTA(A:A)-2)). This will put them one after the other with spaces in between
hans    01 Mar 2015, 06:10
Look like problem tht I have..i need the last 3 entries from colomn A.
Numeric-nonnumeric entries..thanks
Willy Vanhaelen    30 Jan 2015, 12:24
You can even make it shorter:

Ramanand Shetty    29 Jan 2015, 00:19
what I wanted was
coz I just wanted last vlaue in coloumn, it would hv either number or any value...
thank you :) :) :)
Pieter de la Court    02 Nov 2014, 05:18
For me (Excel 2003) the formula =LOOKUP(2,1/(1-ISBLANK(A:A)),A:A) gives me the content of the first cell (A1) instead of the last filled cell. Changing the formula to =LOOKUP(2,1/(1-ISBLANK(A1:A65535)),A1:A65535) solves this problem. Any idea why?

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