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How to lookup first non-zero value and return corresponding column header in Excel?

Author: Xiaoyang Last Modified: 2020-12-25

Supposing, you have a range of data, now, you want to return the column header in that row where the first non-zero value occurs as following screenshot shown, this article, I will introduce a useful formula for you to deal with this task in Excel.

doc lookup first non zero 1

Lookup the first non-zero value and return corresponding column header with formula


arrow blue right bubble Lookup the first non-zero value and return corresponding column header with formula

To return the column header of the first non-zero value in a row, the following formula may help you, please do as this:

Enter this formula: =INDEX($B$1:$I$1,MATCH(TRUE,INDEX(B2:I2<>0,),0)) into a blank cell where you want to locate the result, K2, for example, and then drag the fill handle down to the cells that you want to apply this formula, and all the corresponding column headers of the first non-zero value are returned as following screenshot shown:

doc lookup first non zero 2

Note: In the above formula, B1:I1 is the column headers which you want to return, B2:I2 is the row data that you want to lookup the first non-zero value.

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Comments (15)
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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hello, my problem is: a have value 1,2,3,4,...50 that are the number of month. How to denormalize month into real datum. Thank you in advance a lot!!!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Does anyone know what you would do if your cell that contains a zero has a formula in it? When I use this formula, I end up with whatever the first column header is regardless of whether it is zero or not.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
E como faço pra procurar o primeiro valor diferente de zero da esquerda pra direita?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hello, Matheus
If you want to return the first non-zero value from a row, please apply the below formula:
=INDEX(B2:F2,MATCH(TRUE,INDEX(B2:F2<>0,),0))
Please have a try, hope it can help you!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
What if you needed the last non-zero value in an array?

P.S. This was really helpful, thank you so much!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hello, Ali,
To get the column header based on the last non-zero value, please apply the below formula, see screenshot:
=INDEX($B$1:$H$1,MAX((COLUMN(B2:H2)-MIN(COLUMN(B2:H2))+1)*(B2:H2<>0)))
Please remember to press Ctrl+Shift+Enter key together.
https://www.extendoffice.com/images/stories/comments/comment-skyyang/doc-last-non-zero.png
Please try, hope it can help you!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
The formula is super helpful and helped me sorted out the situation! Thanks!!! Is there any chance you may please help to also explain how it works?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
How do you look up for the second,third and fourth non-zero value?
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hello, Robert,
To lookup the second, third or fourth non-zero values and return their columns, please apply the below formula: (After pasting the formula, please press Ctr + Shift + Enter keys together.)
=INDEX($B$1:$I$1,SMALL(IF(B2:I2<>0, COLUMN(B2:I2)-COLUMN(A2)),2))


Note: To extract the third or fourth result, you just need to change the number 2 to 3,4 as you need.

Please have a try, hope it can help you!
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