Sometimes we may need to figure out or determine the column number of any specific cell. For this purpose, Excel provides a function named **COLUMN**. This function returns the column number of any reference cell. This article will share the complete idea of how the **COLUMN **function works in Excel independently and then with other Excel functions.

**Table of Contents**hide

## Download the Practice WorkBook

**COLUMN Function in Excel (Quick View)**

**Excel COLUMN Function: Syntax & Arguments**

**Summary**

The function returns the column number of a reference.

**Syntax**

=COLUMN(**[reference]**)

**Arguments**

#### Arguments

Argument |
Required or Optional |
Value |

[reference] |
Optional | The cell or range of cells for which we want to return the column number. If the reference argument refers to a range of cells, and if the COLUMN function is entered as a horizontal array formula, the COLUMN function returns the column numbers of reference as a horizontal array. |

**Note:Â **

- In OFFICE 365, we can simply enter the formula in the top-left-cell of the output range, then press ENTER to confirm the formula as a dynamic array formula.
- Another way is to enter it as a legacy array formula by first selecting the output range, entering the formula in the top-left-cell of the output range, and then pressing
**CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER**to confirm it. You can confirm it by seeing brackets at the beginning and end of the formula.

**How to Use the COLUMN Function in Excel (4 Examples)**

**Example 1: VLOOKUP with Dynamic Column Reference Using COLUMN Function**

This COLUMN function is mostly used as an argument of another popular function named the **VLOOKUP **function. Letâ€™s see how we can use this. For this letâ€™s consider we have a dataset of some products with their ID, Product, Seller, and Price. Now we will find the seller and price automatically by using only the product name.

**Step 1:** Enter the below formula in cells **C14 **and **D14**

`=VLOOKUP($B14,$B$4:$D$11,COLUMNS($B4:B4)+1,0)`

And

`=VLOOKUP($B14,$B$4:$D$11,COLUMNS($B4:C4)+1,0)`

**Formula Explanation**

- Here
**$B14**is the input field. We will enter our input in this field. **$B$4:$D$11**the table range where our data is stored.**COLUMNS($B4:B4)+1**this portion will return the Seller column values. And**COLUMNS($B4:C4)+1**this is for price.- Defining
**0**as range_lookup we are considering the exact match for the comparison. - Are you interested in exploring this VLOOKUP function? Try this link:
**1.Â How to Get the Max Value Using VLOOKUP in Excel****2.Â VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP combined Excel formula (with example)****3.Â VLOOKUP Formula to Compare Two Columns in Different Sheets!****4.Â Using VLOOKUP with IF Condition in Excel (5 Real-Life Examples)**

*[ Note: Here in cell C14, the #NA error is showing as we didnâ€™t enter any input value in cell B14.It will be changed when we will put any value on that cell.]*

**Step 2:** Enter any product name from the drop-down list and press **Enter**

**Read More: ****How to use COLUMNS Function in Excel (3 Examples)**

**Example 2: Formula with COLUMN and MOD function**

Letâ€™s say we have a dataset of the monthly bills of any organization. But we want to increase the bills by a specific number for every third month. The scenario will be like this:

**Step 1:** Enter the formula in cell **B5 **and copy it dynamically by hovering your mouse to the right side

`=IF(MOD(COLUMN(B4)-1,3)=0,$E$8+B4,B4)`

**Formula Explanation**

- Here
**MOD(COLUMN(B4)-1,3)**this portion finds every third month from the dataset. **$E$8+B4**this will add the current bill with the input bill if the condition is true.**B4**is used if the condition is false, it will print the previous bill.

**Step 2: **Enter the amount that you want to add, and press **Enter**

**Similar Readings**

**How to Use INDIRECT Function in Excel (12 Suitable Instances)****Use OFFSET Function in Excel (3 Examples)****Offset(â€¦) Function in Excel with Examples**

**Example 3: Find the First Column Number of any Range**

Now letâ€™s see the column comparison with this function. Letâ€™s have a dataset of some salespersons with their three months sales. Now we will find out the first column number from the range of sales.

**Step 1: **Enter the formula in cell **D13 **and press **Enter**

`=MIN(COLUMN(C5:E11))`

**Formula Explanation**

**C5:E1**this is the range of all columns with values.**COLUMN(C5:E11)**will return the column references.- Then
**MIN**function defines the finds the minimum values from the given dataset.

**Example 4: Find the Last Column Number of any Range**

Now here we will find out the last column number of the sales range. The dataset will be the same, but the formula will be different.

**Step 1: **Enter the formula in cell **D13 **and press **Enter**

`=MAX(COLUMN(C5:E11))`

**Read More:** **How to find text in an Excel range & return cell reference (3 ways)**

**Things to Remember**

Common ErrorsÂ Â Â Â |
When they show |

#NAME! | This function will deliver a #NAME! Error if we provide the invalid reference in the argument. |

**Conclusion**

This is all about the **COLUMN** function and its different applications. Overall, in terms of working with time, we need this function for various purposes. I have shown multiple methods with their respective examples but there can be many other iterations depending on numerous situations. If you have any other method of utilizing this function, then please feel free to share it with us.