## How to use the COLUMN function

*Article updated on March 29, 2018*

The COLUMN function returns the column number of the top left cell of a cell reference. If the argument is not entered the column number of the cell the formula is entered in is returned, see cell B6 in picture above.

### Excel Function Syntax

=COLUMN(*reference*)

### Arguments

reference |
Optional. The cell reference for which you want to extract the column number from. |

### Comments

The COLUMN function allows you to also return an array of column numbers if you enter the formula as an array formula and use a cell range containing multiple columns.

You can not use multiple cell references in the COLUMN function.

### Articles with the 'COLUMN' Function

The following 6 articles have formulas that contain the COLUMN function.

Search for a text string in a data set and return matching records

Question: How do I find rows that contain a specific string value in a data set? Answer: Array formula in […]Rearrange cells in a cell range to vertically distributed values

The formula in cell B8 uses a named range to calculate the row and column needed to extract the correct […]### Functions in 'Lookup and reference'

The COLUMN function function is one of many functions in the 'Lookup and reference' category.