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All articles COLUMNS Find the First Column Number in a Range in Excel

Find the First Column Number in a Range in Excel

Read time: 25 minutes

Figure 1. of First Column Number in a Range.

If we want to find the first column within a particular range, we are going to make use of a formula which is based on the Excel COLUMN Function.

Generic Formula

=MIN(COLUMN(rng))

Where rng is our specified range of cells within our worksheet.

How to use the Excel COLUMN Function.

When supplied with a cell reference, Excel COLUMN Function will return the column number of our reference. We are going to demonstrate the usage of the Excel COLUMN Function in the following three simple steps;

  1. Collect the data values available to us and arrange in separate columns in our worksheet.

In the example illustrated below, we will be working with sales entries/records for a store within the first six months of the year.

Figure 2. of Sales Records.

  1. We are now going to supply a cell reference for Excel to determine its column number. Hence, the following formula will be entered into the formula bar for cell E2 of our worksheet.

=MIN(COLUMN(A2:C7))

Figure 3. of the COLUMN Function in Excel.

The first column value for the example illustrated above is 1.

  1. We are now going to demonstrate what the column value will be when we begin entry of our data values in the next column. See example illustrated below;

Figure 4. of First Column Number in Range.

We can see that the First Column Number for Figure 4. above is now 2. Notice how our data values begin in the second column.

In the event that we require the first column number only, we can utilize the Excel MIN function for extracting only the first column number, which will be the least number value in our range.

Figure 5. of Final Result.

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Another blog reader asked this question today on Excelchat:
Solution examples
I am having issues with max If function array formula using Is number / Find to find data
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Hello, I need help regarding indirect formula of excel. 1. What is the purpose of using this formula? 2. If we use this formula with sum formula, then why we are using this with sum formula, we can also perform addition from different sheets without indirect formula ?
Solved by O. D. in 21 mins
I need an IF statement embedded in a MIN statement to avoid the #DIV/0 return. =(MIN(1,N26/I26))
Solved by K. H. in 20 mins
I have 5 sheets in one workbook. Sheet 1 finds the MIN value in certain cells within the other 4 sheets. I need a formula in sheet 1 that does the following: If MIN value was found on sheet 3, cell A5, then I need to paste data from 2 other cells (not adjacent) on sheet 3 to sheet 1. If MIN value was found on sheet 4, then the data from 2 other cells on sheet 4 needs to go to 2 cells on sheet 1. So whatever sheet the MIN value is found on, it has 2 cells with corresponding data that need to be pulled to 2 cells on sheet one based on the result of the MIN formula. Thanks!
Solved by Z. Y. in 40 mins
I need to consolidate a list of names based on lowest number. Each name is associated with an account and a date. For each account I need only the lowest date to show up. I am using a pivot table.
Solved by C. H. in 60 mins

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