Excel FunctionsExcel COLUMNS Function

Get number of column in a range


The Excel COLUMN function tells the column number of a referred cell.  On the other hand, the COLUMNS function returns the number of columns within a given array.Both these Excel positioning functions are use full for dynamic excel modeling and make the input of other nested functions e.g. VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP



The COLUMN(s) function’s syntax has the following arguments:

for ROW function

  • reference Optional

Reference is the Cell or a range, against which, the row number is being looked up.

In our example given in the image cell, C3 is a reference.

As providing a reference in the COLUMN function is optional, therefore if it is not provided, Excel automatically takes the current cell as reference.

Further, if the provided reference is a range of cells instead of a single cell, then the COLUMN function returns the number of the 1st row in the referenced range.

for COLUMNS function

  • array Required

The reference to the range, against which, the number of rows is being sought for.

In the example of the image given above, the reference range is from cell B6:E6.   

Providing reference in a text string, Excel will return the #NAME error.

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