The INDEX function is one of the top used 10 Excel functions. In this tutorial, you will get a complete idea of how the INDEX function works in Excel individually and with other Excel functions.

You will get the Excel INDEX function in two forms: Array Form and Reference Form.

__Excel INDEX Function in Array Form (Quick View):__

When you intend to return a value (or values) from a single range, you will use the array form of the **INDEX **function.

__Excel INDEX Function in Reference Form (Quick View):__

When you intend to return a value (or values) from multiple ranges, you will use the reference form of the **INDEX **function.

**Table of Contents**Expand

## Introduction to INDEX Function in Excel

__Function Objective:__

It returns a value or reference of the cell at the intersection of a particular row and column, in a given range.

__Syntax of INDEX Function in Array Form:__

**=INDEX (array, row_num, [column_num])**

**Arguments:**

argument | required/ optional | value |
---|---|---|

array | Required | Pass a range of cells, or an array constant to this argument |

row_num | Required | Pass the row number in the cell range or the array constant |

col_num | Optional | Pass the column number in the cell range or the array constant |

**Note:**

- If you use both the
**row_num**and**column_num**arguments, the**INDEX**function will return the value from the cell at the intersection of the**row_num**and**column_num**. - If you set
**row_num**or**column_num**to 0 (zero), then you will get the whole column values or the whole row values respectively in the form of arrays. You can insert those values into cells using Array Formula.

__Syntax of INDEX Function in Reference Form:__

**=INDEX (reference, row_num, [column_num], [area_num])**

**Arguments:**

argument | required/ optional | value |
---|---|---|

reference | Required | Pass more than one range or array |

row_num | Required | Pass the row number in a specific cell range |

col_num | Optional | Pass the column number in a specific cell range |

area_num | Optional | Pass the area number that you want to select from a group of ranges |

**Note:**

- If pass more than one range or array as the array value, you should pass also the area_num.
- If the
**area_num**is absent, the**INDEX**Function will work with the first range. If you pass a value as the**area_num**, the**INDEX**function will work in that specific range. - If the concepts are not clear, do not worry; go to the next step, where I am going to show you a good number of examples to use Excel’s
**INDEX**function effectively.

## How to Use INDEX Function in Excel: 6 Handy Examples

### Example 1: Select an Item from a List

Using the Excel **INDEX **function, we can retrieve any item from a list. You can use hard-coded row or column numbers in the formula or use a cell reference.

__One Dimensional List with a Single Column:__

For example, if we want to retrieve the 3rd product from the list, we can use the following formula in **cell C13**, having specified the row number (the serial number, in other words) in **cell C12**.

`=INDEX(B5:B10,C12)`

Or,

`=INDEX(B5:B10,3)`

__One Dimensional List with a Single Row:__

Similarly, we can retrieve an item from a single row using the **INDEX** function. Specify the serial number in **column B** and apply the following formula in **cell C20**:

`=INDEX(C17:H17,,B20)`

Or,

`=INDEX(C17:H17,3)`

You could also write the serial number directly in the formula instead of using cell reference. But we recommend using cell reference as it makes your job more dynamic.

__Retrieve Item from a Multidimensional List:__

To retrieve an item from a list of multiple dimensions, you have to specify the row and column number in the **INDEX **function.

For example, If you want to get the item from the **3rd row** and **4th column **of the list, you must insert the following formula in **cell C33**.

`=INDEX(C26:H29,C31,C32)`

**Note:**

- If you specify a row number beyond the range of your list (the array you have specified to the
**INDEX**function), it will cause a**#REF! error**. - You can also refer to an array as a reference and apply the
**INDEX**function. For example, the formula**=INDEX({1,2,3;4,5,6;7,8,9;10,11,12},2,3)**will return 8. The**array constant****{1,2,3;4,5,6;7,8,9;10,11,12}**contains columns separated by semicolons.

### Example 2: Selecting Item from Multiple Lists

You may have noticed already; that the **INDEX** function has another optional argument which is **[area_num].** With this, you can input multiple arrays or reference ranges in the INDEX function and specify from which array, the function will return an item or value.

For example, we have two lists here, one is for **Windows** and the other is for **MS Office.** You can apply the following formula to get a value from the **Windows** list.

`=INDEX((D5:G9,I5:L9),C11,E11,1)`

Or,

`=INDEX((D5:G9,I5:L9),C11,E11,2)`

to get an item from the **MS Office** list.

**Note:**

If you don’t specify the number in this formula, Excel will consider area 1 to return the value, by default.

### Example 3: Combine MATCH Function with INDEX to Match Multiple Criteria and Return Value

**The MATCH function** returns the relative position of an item in an array that matches a specified value in a specified order. You can easily retrieve the row and column numbers for a specific range using the **MATCH** function.

Let’s see the following example. We want to match some criteria specified in cells **C12** and **C13.**

**Steps:**

- Apply the following formula in
**Cell C14**:

`=INDEX(B5:E10,MATCH(C13,B5:B10,0),MATCH(C12,B4:E4,0))`

- Press
**ENTER.**

**🔎**** How Does This Formula Work?**

Let’s see how this formula works part by part.

**MATCH(C12,B4:E4,0)**

**Output:** 3

**Explanation:** The **MATCH** function takes input from **cell C12** and performs an exact match in the range **B4:E4**. 0 digit in the last argument indicates an exact match here. Finally, since the item in **C12** is in the third column of the **B4:E4** range, the function returns 3.

**MATCH(C13,B5:B10,0)**

**Output:** 3

**Explanation**: Same as the first **MATCH** function explained above. But this time, the function works row-wise since the range **B5:B10,** which means the items are in different rows but in one single column.

**INDEX(B5:E10,MATCH(C13,B5:B10,0),MATCH(C12,B4:E4,0))**

**Output:**1930

**Explanation**: We can simplify the formula using the outputs of the two MATCH parts. So it will be INDEX(B5:E10,3,3). So, the INDEX function will travel to row 3 and then to column 3 within the range B5:E10. From the row-column intersection, it will return that value.

### Example 4: Combine INDEX, MATCH, and IF Functions to Match Multiple Criteria from Two Lists

Now, if we have two lists and want to match multiple criteria after choosing one, what to do? Here, we will provide you with a formula.

Here is our dataset and we have Sales data for **Windows** and **MS Office** in different countries and years.

We will set 3 criteria: **Product** name, **Year,** and **Country,** and retrieve their corresponding sales data.

**Steps:**

- Assume that the criteria set are-
**Year: 2019**,**Product: MS Office**, and**Country: Canada**. - Set them in cells
**C11, C12,**and**C13**respectively. - Now, apply the following formula in
**Cell C14**and hit**ENTER.**

`=INDEX(INDEX((D5:G9,I5:L9),,,IF(C12="Windows",1,2)),MATCH(C13,B5:B9,0),MATCH(C11,INDEX((D5:G5,I5:L5),,,IF(C12="Windows",1,2)),0))`

- You will see the corresponding sales data in
**Cell C14**now. - You can make this formula more dynamic by using
**data validation**.

**🔎**** How Does This Formula Work?**

**IF(C12=”Windows”,1,2))**

**Output**: 2

**Explanation**: Since **Cell C12** contains **Windows**, the criteria is not matched and the **IF function** returns 2.

**INDEX((D5:G9,I5:L9),,,IF(C12=”Windows”,1,2))**

**Output**: {2017,2018,2019,2020;8545,8417,6318,5603;5052,8052,5137,5958;9590,6451,3177,6711;5126,3763,3317,9940}

**Explanation**: Since the **IF(C12=”Windows”,1,2)** part returns 2, so this formula becomes **INDEX((D5:G9,I5:L9),,,2)**. Now, the **INDEX** function returns the second range assigned to it.

**MATCH(C11,INDEX((D5:G5,I5:L5),,,IF(C12=”Windows”,1,2)),0)**

**Output**: 3

**Explanation**: Since **IF(C12=”Windows”,1,2)** part returns 2, so this part becomes **MATCH(C11,INDEX((D5:G5,I5:L5),,,2),0). **Now, **INDEX((D5:G5,I5:L5),,,2)** part return **I5:G5** which is **{2017,2018,2019,2020}**. So the **MATCH** formula becomes **MATCH(C11,{2017,2018,2019,2020},0)**. And the **MATCH** function returns 3 since the value 2019 in **Cell C11** is in the 3rd position of {2017,2018,2019,2020} array.

**MATCH(C13,B5:B9,0),**

**Output**: 4

**Explanation**: The **MATCH** function matches the value of **Cell C13** in the **B5:B9** range and returns 4 since it’s the position of the string “Canada” in the **B5:B9** range.

**=INDEX({2017,2018,2019,2020;8545,8417,6318,5603;5052,8052,5137,5958;9590,6451,3177,6711;5126,3763,3317,9940},4,3)**

**Output**: 3177

**Explanation**: After all the small pieces of the formula are performed, the whole formula looks like this. And it returns the value where the 4th row and 3rd column intersect.

### Example 5: Returning a Row or Column Entirely from a Range

Using the **INDEX** function, You can also return a row or column entirely from a range. To do that, execute the following steps.

**Steps:**

- Say you want to return the first row from the
**Windows**list. Apply the following formula in any cell (here, in**cell F11**), and press**ENTER.**

`=INDEX(D6:G9,1,0)`

- Note that, we have specified the column number as 0 here. We could also apply the following formula to get the entire row, putting a comma after the row_num argument, and leaving it as it is without specifying any column number.

`=INDEX(D6:G9,1,)`

- But if you just write
**=INDEX(D6:G9,1)**and hit**ENTER,**you will get only the first value in the first row, not the whole row. - To get the first column as a whole, apply the following formula. The things you should consider in case of getting a whole row returned are also applicable to this case.

`=INDEX(I6:L9,,1)`

**Note:**

- If you are using older Excel versions than
**Microsoft 365**, then you must use the Array formula to return a row or column from a range using the**INDEX**Function. - For example, in our dataset here, every row of the sales range consists of 4 values, so you must select 4 cells horizontally and then input the
**INDEX**function. - Now press
**CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER**to enter the formula as an array formula. - In the same way, you can show the Entire Column.
- To return an entire range, just assign the range to the reference argument and put 0 as the column and row number. Here is a formula as an example.

`=INDEX(D6:G9,0,0)`

### Example 6: INDEX Function Can Also Be Used as Cell Reference

In example 5, we have seen how to use the **INDEX** function to return an entire row from a range. You could also use the following simple formula in any cell to get the same.

`=D6:G6`

The point I am trying to make is- the **INDEX** function can also return a cell reference instead of a cell value. I will use **INDEX(D6:G9,1,4)** instead of **G6** in the above formula. Hence, the formula will be like this,

`=D6:INDEX(D6:G9,1,4)`

**🔎**** Evaluation of This Formula:**

- First, select the cell where the formula lies.
- Go to the
**Formulas**tab >>**Formula Auditing**group >> Click on the**Evaluate Formula**command. - The
**Evaluate Formula**dialog box will open.

- In the Evaluation field, you will get the formula
**=D6:INDEX(D6:G9,1,4)**. - Now click on
**Evaluate**. - The formula is now showing the cell range
**$D$6:$G$6**. - So, the whole
**INDEX**formula has returned a cell reference, not a cell value.

## What Are the Common Errors While Using the INDEX Function in Excel?

**The #REF! Error:**

It occurs-

- When your passed row_num argument is higher than the existing row numbers in the range.
- When your passed col_num argument is higher than the existing column numbers in the range.
- When your passed area_num argument is higher than the existing area numbers.

**The #VALUE! Error:**

It occurs when you supply non-numeric values as row_num, col_num, or area_num.

**Download Excel Workbook**

Download the Excel workbook so that you can practice yourself.

## Conclusion

INDEX Function is one of the most powerful functions in Excel. To travel through a range of cells, and retrieve data from a range of cells, you will use a lot of time Excel’s INDEX Function. If you know a unique way of using Excel’s INDEX Function, let us know in the comment box.

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Have tried the links to download the 1200+ macros examples e-book & 100+ excel functions cheat sheet. However, it keeps asking me to reload or re-register. Please if the file sizes are not too large can you forward to my email address.

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I have many data in columns A to E , I want to find all data that corresponding to a specific data from column A . This data from A may be exist three times or more.

I have many data in columns A to E , I want to find all data from column E that corresponding to a specific data from column A. This data from A may be exist three times or more.

Waleed,

Can you upload the working files of your problems? At least a sample file? If possible send an email to this address [email protected]

I am trying to use the index function to display a dollar amount listed in a table in the month that it will be billed for. I have multiple projects and when the formula is dragged down to the next project, the index gets off because the projects have different start dates. Is there a better way to have the index start at the first billing month other than copying the formula from the previous project to the first billing month of the next project?

Hi, GILBERT BECHTOL!

Thank you for your query.

In your appeared problem, I would suggest you use the

MONTHfunction to get individual months from each date record. Then,sortthe order from smallest to largest. As a result, you’ll get the billing months of the project in sequential order and thus you can use theINDEXfunction to achieve your target.If your problem still doesn’t fix, please send us your Excel sheet with clearer feedback on your target in this regard.

Regards,

Tanjim Reza

Dear All:

I am looking for a way (without VBA) to create a dynamic array constant which has the value of {1,1,1;2,2,0;3,0,0} in column 3 and {1,1,1,1;2,2,2,0;3,3,0,0;4,0,0,0} in column 4.. and so on and so forth

This is where I have reached so far:

I was able to figure out that an array formula =CHOOSE(TRANSPOSE(A1:C1),{1,1,1},{2,2,0},{3,0,0}) where A1=1,B1=2,C1=3 gives me the solution and =A1*–(A1:A3<D1) gives me the value of {1,1,1}.. but when I try combining the above two into a single formula as =CHOOSE(TRANSPOSE(A1:C1),A1:C1*–(OFFSET(A1:C1,0,0,1,C1)<D1)).. i am returned the value of {1,2,3;#VALUE!,#VALUE!,#VALUE!;#VALUE!,#VALUE!,#VALUE!}….

I cant seem to figure out how to get the above formula to work or some other way to get the constant {1,1,1;2,2,0;3,0,0}.

Please do help.

Thanks

Akshay

Hi AKSHAY THAKKER! We hope you are well. It’s been 6 years since you posted this query here. We are extremely sorry for being so late in responding. Hope you would have had a solution to your problem somewhere by now. However, we are providing a solution to your question hoping that other readers might find it useful.

For example, we have created a 10×10 array using the following formula.

Look at the following image.

You must do two things before applying the formula.

First, place the numbers in the first row (row 1, i.e. row of A1) serially, and second, place them serially down the first column (column A). You can place them elsewhere, but in that case, you have to change the cell references in the array formula accordingly.

You can create any square array with your desired sequence (1,1,1,1;2,2,2,0;3,3,0,0;4,0,0,0) having any square dimension. However, if you want to change the sequence, you have to change the formula a bit.

Tip:Look into the greater than logic in the formula. You have to make the change here to create other sequences.If there is any query, please let us know. You can also send us your problem at this address: [email protected]