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Excel COLUMN function

Author: Sun Last Modified: 2019-06-21

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Syntax and Arguments

Usage and Examples


The COLUMN function returns the number of column which formula appears or returns the column number of given reference. For example, formula =COLUMN(BD) returns 56.

Syntax and arguments

Formula syntax



  • Reference: Optional. It’s a cell or a range of cells whose column number you want to return, which cannot include multiple references or addresses in the COLUMN function.

Return Value

The COLUMN function returns a number representing the column.

Usage and Examples

Here I list some examples to show how to use the COLUMN function.

Example1: Obtain column number of a given cell reference



Result: 293
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Example2: Obtain column number which the formula is in



Result: 1
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Example3: Obtain the leftmost column number while reference is a range of cells



Result: 7
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Example4: Obtain the first cell of a data range

Supposing you have a defined name in a sheet which you want to obtain its first cell reference, the COLUMN function combined with the ROW and ADDRESS functions can help you.
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ROW(Data):row_num in the ADDRESS function, obtain the topmost row number of the name range of “Data”.

COLUMN(Data): column_num in the ADDRESS function, obtain the leftmost column number of the named range of “Data”.

Result: $B$2
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Sample File
doc sample file

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