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: Referencing the Last Cell in a Column.

Referencing the Last Cell in a Column

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 30, 2019)

3

Patty asked about a common scenario, in which column B contains quite a bit of data, and information can be added to the cells in the column at any time. In a formula in cell C4, Patty wants to see the value at the bottom of those cells in column B that contain values. Thus, if cells B1:B27 contain data, then in cell C4 Patty wants to see the value that is in cell B27. If three more pieces of data are added to column B, then the value in C4 should contain the value in B30.

The solution to this problem depends on whether you can count on the data in column B containing blank cells or not. If the data is contiguous—it doesn't contain any blank cells—then you can use the following formula in C4:

=INDIRECT("B"&COUNTA(B:B))

This constructs an address based on the last cell in the column, and then uses the INDIRECT function to return the value at that address.

If it is possible for there to be blanks in column B, then the following formula will work:

=INDIRECT("B"&MAX(ROW(1:65535)*(B1:B65535<>"")))

Again, the INDIRECT function is used to fetch the actual value, but the address used by INDIRECT is put together differently.

A different approach is to use the VLOOKUP function to return the value. If column B consists of numeric values, then the following formula in C4 will work just fine:

=VLOOKUP(9.99999999999999E+307,B:B,1)

If column B contains text, then the numeric lookup won't work, but the following will:

=VLOOKUP(REPT("z",50),B:B,1)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2103) 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: Referencing the Last Cell in a Column.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Checking for Proper Entry of Array Formulas

Excel allows you to enter two different types of formulas in a cell: A regular formula or an array formula. If you need ...

Discover More

Keep Your Headings in View

Headings on a table are very important when it comes to understanding what is in the table. This tip explains an easy way ...

Discover More

Creating Shortcuts

Shortcuts can be a great timesaver, allowing you to quickly access frequently used programs and files. This tip explains ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Setting a Length Limit on Cells

Limiting what can be entered in a cell can be an important part of developing a worksheet that other people use. Here's a ...

Discover More

Forcing Editing to Be Done in a Cell

Excel allows you to edit your cell contents in two places. What if you want to limit where editing occurs, so it can only ...

Discover More

Finding Unused Names

After months or years of naming things (such as cell ranges), you may find your workbook cluttered with a bunch of names ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 7?

2020-02-28 08:47:32

S.A.

Thanks so much for the help!


2019-04-01 06:19:15

Alan Elston

This topic has been discussed recently here:
h t t p : / / w w w.eileenslounge.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=32108
Alan Elston


2019-03-31 04:24:47

Felix A. Keller

The formula is NOT working! (see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. /Users/imac/Desktop/Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 15.21.22.png


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.