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: Using the COLUMN Function.

Using the COLUMN Function

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 17, 2015)

Excel includes a nifty little worksheet function that lets you determine the column number of a particular cell reference. Normally columns are designated as A, B, C, and so on, but the COLUMN function returns a numeric value that represents the column. Thus, column A is 1, B is 2, and so on.

You can use the function in the following manner:

=COLUMN(InputRange)

In this instance, the function returns the column of the range named InputRange. If InputRange contains more than one column then only the column number for the first column in the range is returned. You can also use the function without any optional range reference, as follows:

=COLUMN()

When used in this manner, COLUMN returns the column number of the cell in which the COLUMN function is used. Thus, if cell C5 contained =COLUMN(), then the function would return a value of 3.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2305) 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: Using the COLUMN Function.

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

Finding Out the Folder for an Open Document

If you work with a lot of documents at the same time, it can be difficult to remember the folder in which any given ...

Discover More

Changing Text Orientation

Word allows you to change the orientation of text contained within certain objects, such as shapes, text boxes, and table ...

Discover More

Printing Shortcut Key Assignments from a Macro

Need to know what shortcut keys are defined? You can use a single macro command line to print out the definitions.

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Referring to the Last Cell

It is not unusual to use worksheets to collect information over time. As you keep adding information to the worksheet, ...

Discover More

Returning Blanks or Asterisks from a Lookup

Want to return more than a value when doing a lookup? Here's one way to do it by adding an IF clause to your formula.

Discover More

Making VLOOKUP Case Sensitive

The VLOOKUP function, like other lookup functions in Excel, is not case sensitive. In other words, it doesn't matter ...

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 2 - 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.