## Part 1: Introduce the COLUMNS Function in Microsoft Excel

π‘ **Definition**: The COLUMNS function in Microsoft Excel is a Lookup/Reference function.

π‘ **Purpose**: It counts the number of columns in an array or reference.

π‘ **Syntax & Arguments**:

`=COLUMNS(array) `

π‘ **Explanation of Arguments**: The ‘array’ is a necessary argument representing the array or reference for which you want to count the number of columns.

π‘ **Return value**: The COLUMNS function returns the number of columns in an array or reference.

π‘ **Remarks**: Remember that the COLUMNS function counts all columns, not just the non-blank columns.

## Part 2: Examples

### π Example 1

π― **Purpose of Example**: To find the number of columns in a given range.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Formula |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | `=COLUMNS(A2:D2)` |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Result |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | 4 |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

In this example, we aim to count the number of columns in a given range. By applying the COLUMNS function to the range A2:D2, we get the number 4 as a result, as there are 4 columns in this range.

### π Example 2

π― **Purpose of Example**: To understand how the COLUMNS function updates when copying formulas across columns.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Formula |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | `=COLUMNS($A2:B2)` |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Result |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | 2 |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

In this example, the formula counts the number of columns between columns A and B inclusive, which are 2 columns.

### π Example 3

π― **Purpose of Example**: To create a running count of columns using the COLUMNS function.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Formula |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | `=COLUMNS($A2:A2)` |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Result |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | 1 |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

In this example, the formula returns 1, as only 1 column (column A) is in the defined range. If you copy this formula across the row, the content will adjust, and the result will increment.

### π Example 4: COLUMNS with IF

π― **Purpose of Example**: To showcase how the IF function can be used with the COLUMNS function to decide based on the number of columns.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Formula |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | `=IF(COLUMNS(A2:D2)>3, "Yes", "No")` |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Result |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | Yes |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

This example checks if the number of columns in a range exceeds 3. If it is, it returns “Yes”. If not, it replaces “No”.

### π Example 5: COLUMNS with SUM

π― **Purpose of Example**: To show how the SUM function can be used with the COLUMNS function to find the sum of values in columns.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Formula |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | `=SUM(A2:D2)/COLUMNS(A2:D2)` |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Result |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 2.5 |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

This example uses SUM to add the values in the columns and then divides them by the number of columns to get the average value.

### π Example 6: COLUMNS with VLOOKUP

π― **Purpose of Example**: To demonstrate how VLOOKUP can be used with the COLUMNS function to look up values based on column numbers.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Formula |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | `=VLOOKUP("John", A2:D2, COLUMNS(A2:B2), FALSE)` |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Name | Age | City | Job | Result |

2 | John | 32 | NYC | Chef | 32 |

3 | Anna | 25 | LA | Nurse | |

4 | Mary | 28 | SF | Doctor |

In this example, the VLOOKUP function looks up the name “John” in the array A2:D2. The COLUMNS function is used to set the column index number. It returns the value in the second column of the array, which corresponds to the age of “John”.

### π Example 7: COLUMNS with COUNT

π― **Purpose of Example**: To show how the COUNT function can be used with the COLUMNS function to count numerical values across columns.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Formula |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | `=COUNT(A2:D2)/COLUMNS(A2:D2)` |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Result |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 1 |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

In this example, the COUNT function is used to count the number of numerical values in the columns, and then it is divided by the number of columns.

### π Example 8: COLUMNS with AVERAGE

π― **Purpose of Example**: To demonstrate how the AVERAGE function can be used with the COLUMNS function to find the average values across columns.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Formula |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | `=AVERAGE(A2:D2)*COLUMNS(A2:D2)` |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Result |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 10 |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

This example uses AVERAGE to find the average values in the columns and then multiply them by the number of columns.

### π Example 9: COLUMNS with MAX

π― **Purpose of Example**: To illustrate how the MAX function can be used with the COLUMNS function to find the maximum value across columns.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Formula |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | `=MAX(A2:D2)*COLUMNS(A2:D2)` |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Result |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 16 |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

In this example, the MAX function is used to find the maximum value in the columns, and then it is multiplied by the number of columns.

### π Example 10: COLUMNS with MIN

π― **Purpose of Example**: To show how the MIN function can be used with the COLUMNS function to find the minimum value across columns.

**Data Tables and Formulas**:

A | B | C | D | E (Formula) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Formula |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | `=MIN(A2:D2)*COLUMNS(A2:D2)` |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

**Result Table**:

A | B | C | D | E (Result) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

1 | Value 1 | Value 2 | Value 3 | Value 4 | Result |

2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 4 |

3 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | |

4 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

In this example, the MIN function is used to find the minimum value in the columns, which is multiplied by the number of columns.

## Part 3: Tips and Tricks

- π Use the COLUMNS function to create dynamic ranges in Excel.
- π Remember that the COLUMNS function can also be used with data tables.
- π Use COLUMNS with functions like INDEX and VLOOKUP for advanced data manipulation.