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.

Determining Columns in a Range

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 1, 2015)


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.

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. ...


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What is six more than 8?

2015-08-01 10:29:47

Dave Onorato

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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