We can use the excel **COLUMN function** to return the **column number** for a **reference**. Column function **returns columns** as **numbers**. For instance, **Column B is** **2** and **Column C is 3**. **Without a reference**, COLUMN function will **return the column number of the cell containing the formula.** The steps below will walk through the process.

*Figure 1: How to Use Excel Column Function*

**Syntax**

**=COLUMN(REFERENCE)**

**Formula**

**=COLUMN(B4)**

**Setting up the Data**

- We will set up data by inputting our
**Values**in**Column B** - The
**COLUMN Function**will return the result in**Column C** - We will use
**Cell E4 without a reference**

* Figure 2: Setting up the Data*

**Applying the COLUMN Function**

- We will click on
**Cell C4** - We will insert the formula below into the cell

**=COLUMN(B4)** - We will
**press the enter key**

* Figure 3: Returned Column number for Cell B4*

- We will click on
**Cell C4**again - We will
**double click**on the fill handle tool which is the small plus sign you see at the bottom right of**Cell C4.**Select and drag down to copy the formula to other cells.

* Figure 4: Returned Column number for Cell B4 to Cell B6*

- We will insert the formula without a reference into
**Cell E4**and press enter

**=COLUMN()**

* Figure 5: Returned Column number without a reference for Cell E4*

**Notes**

**Column function returns the number of the first column in a range. For instance,=COLUMN(E4:G6) will return 5 as the result because the first column is Column E**- Reference cannot include multiple references or addresses

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