This function is categorized as a lookup/reference function. The Excel COLUMN function returns the column number for a reference cell. For example, COLUMN (B3), this formula returns 2, since B is the second column in the worksheet.
- reference (optional)- It is a reference (column) to a cell or range of cells.
Note on the usage of a COLUMN function
Use a reference parameter to get column number of the reference.
- Reference parameter can be a single cell or array (range) of cells.
- The reference parameter is optional therefore when it is not defined then the function defaults to the cell in which the COLUMN function exists.
- Reference parameter must not include any multiple references or addresses
COLUMN function formula examples
- The Excel COLUMN function, when combined with other functions in Excel, can perform different unique operations. Some example includes
- To count rows with that contain specific values, to generate fixed value every N month, to count with repeating valued, to get address of a named range, to sum every nth column, to look up a value by matching across multiple column, to copy values from columns, to sum cell, to increment columns or rows, to get relative column numbers in range etc…
The following example shows the usage of COLUMN function and the results returned by the function.
Figure 1. Shows the Excel COLUMN function used to return the column values