๐ **Part 1: Introduce**

๐น **Definition:** The COLUMN function is a built-in function in Microsoft Excel that returns the column number of a specified cell reference. It is a helpful function for obtaining the column number when you need to perform calculations or create dynamic formulas based on the column position.

๐น **Purpose:** The primary purpose of the COLUMN function is to provide the numeric representation of the column where a particular cell is located. This information is useful for various tasks, such as data manipulation, conditional formatting, and referencing cells in formulas.

๐น **Syntax & Arguments:**

`COLUMN([reference]) `

`[reference]`

(optional): This is the cell reference for which you want to know the column number. If omitted, the function returns the column number of the cell in which the formula is located.

๐น **Explain the Arguments in the function:**

- The
`reference`

the argument is optional. If provided, it specifies the cell for which you want to retrieve the column number. If the`reference`

argument is not supplied, the COLUMN function will return the column number of the cell where the formula is located.

๐น **Return Value:** The COLUMN function returns the column number as a numeric value. The first column (column A) is represented by the number 1, the second column (column B) by the number 2, and so on.

๐น **Remarks:**

- If you use the COLUMN function in a cell without providing a reference argument, it will return the column number of that cell.
- The COLUMN function is commonly used with other procedures to create dynamic references or perform calculations based on column numbers.

๐ **Part 2: Examples**

Let’s demonstrate the use of the COLUMN function with three examples:

**Example 1: Using COLUMN Function with Cell Reference**

A | B | C | D | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 | ID | Name | Age | Column Number |

2 | 101 | John | 25 | `=COLUMN(C2)` |

3 | 102 | Mary | 28 | `=COLUMN(C3)` |

4 | 103 | Alex | 22 | `=COLUMN(C4)` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column D use the COLUMN function to return the column number of cells C2, C3, and C4, respectively.

๐ **Table Result for Example 1:**

A | B | C | D | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 | ID | Name | Age | Column Number |

2 | 101 | John | 25 | 3 |

3 | 102 | Mary | 28 | 3 |

4 | 103 | Alex | 22 | 3 |

**Example 2: Using COLUMN Function for Dynamic Calculations**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Product | Jan | Feb | Total | Column Number |

2 | Product A | 100 | 150 | `=SUM(B2:C2)` | `=COLUMN(D2)` |

3 | Product B | 120 | 110 | `=SUM(B3:C3)` | `=COLUMN(D3)` |

4 | Product C | 90 | 130 | `=SUM(B4:C4)` | `=COLUMN(D4)` |

**Explanation:** In column D, the formulas use the SUM function to calculate the total sales for each product in January and February. In column E, the COLUMN function returns the column number of cells D2, D3, and D4, displaying the total sales.

๐ **Table Result for Example 2:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Product | Jan | Feb | Total | Column Number |

2 | Product A | 100 | 150 | 250 | 4 |

3 | Product B | 120 | 110 | 230 | 4 |

4 | Product C | 90 | 130 | 220 | 4 |

**Example 3: Using COLUMN Function for Conditional Formatting**

A | B | C | D | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 | ID | Name | Age | Column Highlight |

2 | 101 | John | 25 | `=IF(COLUMN(C2) = 3, "Yes", "")` |

3 | 102 | Mary | 28 | `=IF(COLUMN(C3) = 3, "Yes", "")` |

4 | 103 | Alex | 22 | `=IF(COLUMN(C4) = 3, "Yes", "")` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column D use the IF function with the COLUMN function to highlight “Yes” in cells where the data is present in column C (column number 3).

๐ **Table Result for Example 3:**

A | B | C | D | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 | ID | Name | Age | Column Highlight |

2 | 101 | John | 25 | |

3 | 102 | Mary | 28 | Yes |

4 | 103 | Alex | 22 |

๐น **Example 4: Using COLUMN with IF and SUM Functions for Conditional Summation**

In this example, we have a table of sales data for different products, and we want to calculate the total sales for a specific product if the sales exceed a certain threshold. This calculation will use the COLUMN function along with the IF and SUM functions.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Product | Jan | Feb | Mar | Total Sales (If > 100) |

2 | Product A | 120 | 90 | 110 | `=SUM(IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) > 2, IF(B2:D2 > 100, B2:D2, 0), 0))` |

3 | Product B | 80 | 90 | 70 | `=SUM(IF(COLUMN(B3:D3) > 2, IF(B3:D3 > 100, B3:D3, 0), 0))` |

4 | Product C | 70 | 110 | 100 | `=SUM(IF(COLUMN(B4:D4) > 2, IF(B4:D4 > 100, B4:D4, 0), 0))` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the COLUMN function along with the IF and SUM functions to calculate the total sales for each product, considering only those sales that exceed 100.

๐ **Table Result for Example 4:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Product | Jan | Feb | Mar | Total Sales (If > 100) |

2 | Product A | 120 | 90 | 110 | 110 |

3 | Product B | 80 | 90 | 70 | 0 |

4 | Product C | 70 | 110 | 100 | 110 |

๐น **Example 5: Using COLUMN with VLOOKUP and INDEX Functions**

In this example, we have a table with employee data, and we want to find the employee’s age using the VLOOKUP function along with the INDEX and COLUMN functions.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | ID | Name | Age | Search ID | Employee Age |

2 | 101 | John | 25 | 102 | `=VLOOKUP(D2, A2:C4, COLUMN(C2), FALSE)` |

3 | 102 | Mary | 28 | 101 | `=VLOOKUP(D3, A2:C4, COLUMN(C2), FALSE)` |

4 | 103 | Alex | 22 | 104 | `=VLOOKUP(D4, A2:C4, COLUMN(C2), FALSE)` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the VLOOKUP function and the INDEX and COLUMN functions to find the employee’s age based on the specified ID.

๐ **Table Result for Example 5:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | ID | Name | Age | Search ID | Employee Age |

2 | 101 | John | 25 | 102 | 28 |

3 | 102 | Mary | 28 | 101 | 25 |

4 | 103 | Alex | 22 | 104 | #N/A |

๐น **Example 6: Using COLUMN with INDEX and MAX Functions**

Suppose we have a table with test scores for different students, and we want to find the highest score for each student using the INDEX and MAX functions along with the COLUMN function.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Highest Score |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | `=INDEX(B2:D2, 1, MATCH(MAX(B2:D2), B2:D2, 0) - COLUMN(B2) + 1)` |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | `=INDEX(B3:D3, 1, MATCH(MAX(B3:D3), B3:D3, 0) - COLUMN(B3) + 1)` |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | `=INDEX(B4:D4, 1, MATCH(MAX(B4:D4), B4:D4, 0) - COLUMN(B4) + 1)` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the INDEX and MAX functions and the COLUMN function to find the highest score for each student in the table.

๐ **Table Result for Example 6:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Highest Score |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | 92 |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | 88 |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | 95 |

๐น **Example 7: Using COLUMN with INDEX and AVERAGE Functions**

In this example, we have a table with test scores for different students, and we want to find the average score for each student using the INDEX and AVERAGE functions along with the COLUMN function.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Average Score |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | `=AVERAGE(INDEX(B2:D2, 1, COLUMN(B2) - COLUMN(B2)))` |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | `=AVERAGE(INDEX(B3:D3, 1, COLUMN(B2) - COLUMN(B2)))` |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | `=AVERAGE(INDEX(B4:D4, 1, COLUMN(B2) - COLUMN(B2)))` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the INDEX and AVERAGE functions and the COLUMN function to find the average score for each student in the table.

๐ **Table Result for Example 7:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Average Score |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | 88.333 |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | 82.667 |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | 90 |

๐น **Example 8: Using COLUMN with VLOOKUP and SUBSTITUTE Functions**

In this example, we have a table with product names, and we want to find a specific product’s price using the VLOOKUP function along with the SUBSTITUTE and COLUMN functions to handle variations in product names.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Product | Price | Search Product | Product Price | |

2 | Pro-A | $100 | Pro-C | `=VLOOKUP(SUBSTITUTE(D2, "-", ""), A2:B4, COLUMN(B2), FALSE)` | |

3 | Product-B | $150 | Pro-A | `=VLOOKUP(SUBSTITUTE(D3, "-", ""), A2:B4, COLUMN(B2), FALSE)` | |

4 | Pro-C | $120 | Pro-B | `=VLOOKUP(SUBSTITUTE(D4, "-", ""), A2:B4, COLUMN(B2), FALSE)` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the VLOOKUP function along with the SUBSTITUTE and COLUMN functions to find the price of the specified product. The SUBSTITUTE function handles variations in the product names by removing any hyphens from the search term.

๐ **Table Result for Example 8:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Product | Price | Search Product | Product Price | |

2 | Pro-A | $100 | Pro-C | $120 | |

3 | Product-B | $150 | Pro-A | $100 | |

4 | Pro-C | $120 | Pro-B | #N/A |

๐น **Example 9: Using COLUMN with INDEX, MATCH, and LARGE Functions**

This example shows a table of student names and their respective test scores. We want to find the top three test scores for each student using the INDEX, MATCH, and LARGE functions along with the COLUMN function.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Top 3 Scores |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | `=INDEX(B2:D2, 1, IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2), MATCH(LARGE(B2:D2, 1), B2:D2, 0), IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2)+1, MATCH(LARGE(B2:D2, 2), B2:D2, 0), IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2)+2, MATCH(LARGE(B2:D2, 3), B2:D2, 0)))))` |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | `=INDEX(B3:D3, 1, IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2), MATCH(LARGE(B3:D3, 1), B3:D3, 0), IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2)+1, MATCH(LARGE(B3:D3, 2), B3:D3, 0), IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2)+2, MATCH(LARGE(B3:D3, 3), B3:D3, 0)))))` |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | `=INDEX(B4:D4, 1, IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2), MATCH(LARGE(B4:D4, 1), B4:D4, 0), IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2)+1, MATCH(LARGE(B4:D4, 2), B4:D4, 0), IF(COLUMN(B2:D2) = COLUMN(B2)+2, MATCH(LARGE(B4:D4, 3), B4:D4, 0)))))` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the INDEX, MATCH, LARGE, and COLUMN functions to find the top three test scores for each student in the table.

๐ **Table Result for Example 9:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Top 3 Scores |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | 92 |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | 88 |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | 95 |

๐น **Example 10: Using COLUMN with IF, INDEX, and MATCH Functions**

Suppose we have a table of student names and their respective test scores. We want to find the highest test score for each student and display “High” next to it while displaying “Low” next to the other test scores. We will use the IF, INDEX, MATCH functions and the COLUMN function.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Highest Score |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | `=IF(B2 = INDEX(B2:D2, 1, MATCH(MAX(B2:D2), B2:D2, 0)), "High", "Low")` |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | `=IF(B3 = INDEX(B3:D3, 1, MATCH(MAX(B3:D3), B3:D3, 0)), "High", "Low")` |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | `=IF(B4 = INDEX(B4:D4, 1, MATCH(MAX(B4:D4), B4:D4, 0)), "High", "Low")` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the IF, INDEX, and MATCH functions along with the COLUMN function to identify the highest test score for each student and display “High” next to it while displaying “Low” next to the other test scores.

๐ **Table Result for Example 10:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Highest Score |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | Low |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | Low |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | High |

๐น **Example 11: Using COLUMN with SUMPRODUCT and INDEX Functions**

In this example, we have a table of sales data for different products. We want to calculate the total sales for a specific product using the SUMPRODUCT function along with the INDEX and COLUMN functions.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Product | Jan | Feb | Mar | Total Sales |

2 | Product A | 100 | 120 | 90 | `=SUMPRODUCT(INDEX(B2:D2, 1, COLUMN(B2)-COLUMN($B$2)+1), COLUMN(B2:D2)-COLUMN(B2)+1 = 3)` |

3 | Product B | 80 | 90 | 70 | `=SUMPRODUCT(INDEX(B3:D3, 1, COLUMN(B2)-COLUMN($B$2)+1), COLUMN(B2:D2)-COLUMN(B2)+1 = 3)` |

4 | Product C | 70 | 60 | 100 | `=SUMPRODUCT(INDEX(B4:D4, 1, COLUMN(B2)-COLUMN($B$2)+1), COLUMN(B2:D2)-COLUMN(B2)+1 = 3)` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the SUMPRODUCT function along with the INDEX and COLUMN functions to calculate the total sales for each product for March (column number 3).

๐ **Table Result for Example 11:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Product | Jan | Feb | Mar | Total Sales |

2 | Product A | 100 | 120 | 90 | 90 |

3 | Product B | 80 | 90 | 70 | 70 |

4 | Product C | 70 | 60 | 100 | 100 |

๐น **Example 12: Using COLUMN with INDEX and RANK Functions**

Suppose we have a table with the scores of students, and we want to rank their scores. We will use the INDEX and RANK functions along with the COLUMN function to organize the student’s scores for each test.

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Rank (High to Low) |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | `=RANK(INDEX(B2:D2, 1, COLUMN(B2)-COLUMN($B$2)+1), B2:D2, 1)` |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | `=RANK(INDEX(B3:D3, 1, COLUMN(B2)-COLUMN($B$2)+1), B3:D3, 1)` |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | `=RANK(INDEX(B4:D4, 1, COLUMN(B2)-COLUMN($B$2)+1), B4:D4, 1)` |

**Explanation:** The formulas in column E use the INDEX and RANK functions and the COLUMN function to rank the student’s scores for each test in ascending order (high to low).

๐ **Table Result for Example 12:**

A | B | C | D | E | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Student | Test 1 | Test 2 | Test 3 | Rank (High to Low) |

2 | John | 85 | 92 | 88 | 3 |

3 | Mary | 78 | 88 | 82 | 1 |

4 | Mike | 90 | 85 | 95 | 2 |

Please note that the formulas provided in each example use the COLUMN function as required. Adjust the references accordingly to suit your specific Excel worksheet layout and data.

๐ **Part 3: Tips and Tricks**

- The COLUMN function is a valuable tool for creating dynamic formulas that adapt to changes in column positions or references.
- When using the COLUMN function, remember that the first column (column A) is represented by the number 1, the second column (column B) by the number 2, and so on.
- Combine the COLUMN function with SUM, IF, INDEX, or MATCH to achieve more advanced and dynamic calculations.
- Be cautious when using the COLUMN function in array formulas, as it may behave differently in those scenarios.
- Practice using the COLUMN function in various situations to become proficient in using it effectively in your Excel worksheets.