Using the COLUMN Function

Excel includes a nifty little worksheet function that lets you determine the column number of a particular cell reference. Normally columns are designated as A, B, C, and so on, but the COLUMN function returns a numeric value that represents the column. Thus, column A is 1, B is 2, and so on.

You can use the function in the following manner:

=COLUMN(InputRange)

In this instance, the function returns the column of the range named InputRange. If InputRange contains more than one column then only the column number for the first column in the range is returned. You can also use the function without any optional range reference, as follows:

=COLUMN()

When used in this manner, COLUMN returns the column number of the cell in which the COLUMN function is used. Thus, if cell C5 contained =COLUMN(), then the function would return a value of 3.