Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on May 05, 2022

DROP function example

The DROP function removes a given number of rows or columns from a 2D cell range or array.

Dynamic array formula in cell B9:

=DROP(B2:D5, 2)

The DROP function is available to Excel 365 users and is in the "Array manipulation" category.

1. DROP Function Syntax

DROP(array, rows, [columns])

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2. DROP Function Arguments

array Required. The source cell range or array.
rows Required. The number of contiguous rows to remove, a negative number removes contiguous rows from the end.
[columns] Optional. The number of contiguous columns to remove, a negative number removes contiguous rows from the end.

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3. DROP Function example

DROP function example1

The picture above shows how the DROP function removes the two first rows from cell range B2:D5.

Dynamic array formula in cell B9:

=DROP(B2:D5, 2)
Note! If any of the values in the source range change, the values in the DROP function output change as well.

3.1 Explaining formula

Step 1 - DROP function

DROP(array, rows, [columns])

Step 2 - Populate arguments

array - B2:D5
rows - 2
[columns] -

Step 3 - Evaluate function

DROP(B2:D5, 2)

becomes

DROP({89, 27, 26;
68, 84, 98;
19, 92, 62;
37, 63, 45}, 2)

and returns

{19, 92, 62;
37, 63, 45}

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4. DROP Function example - remove columns

DROP function remove columns

The image above demonstrates how to remove columns using the DROP function.

Formula in cell B6:

=DROP(B2:D5, , 2)

The DROP function removes the two first columns from cell range B2:D5.

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5. DROP Function example - return rows and columns

DROP function remove columns and rows

The image above demonstrates how to remove both rows and columns using the DROP function.

Formula in cell B9:

=DROP(B2:D5, 2, 2)

DROP(array, rows, [columns])

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6. DROP Function example - negative values

DROP function negative numbers

The DROP function lets you use negative arguments, this means that the function removes rows/columns from the end.

Formula in cell B9:

=DROP(B2:D5, -2, -2)

DROP(array, rows, [columns])

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7. DROP function error

DROP function errors

The DROP function returns a #VALUE! error when no values are displayed.

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8. DROP function - values in random order

DROP function random order 1

The image above shows a formula that returns values in random order from the two first rows in a 2D cell range.

Dynamic array formula in cell B8:

=LET(z, DROP(B2:D5, 2), x, TOROW(z), WRAPCOLS(SORTBY(x, RANDARRAY(, COLUMNS(x))), ROWS(z)))

8.1 Explaining formula in cell B8

Step 1 - Remove two first rows

DROP(B2:D5, 2)

becomes

DROP({89, 27, 26;
68, 84, 98;
19, 92, 62;
37, 63, 45}, 2)

and returns

{19, 92, 62;
37, 63, 45}.

Step 2 - Rearrange values to a single row

The TOROW function rearranges values from a 2D cell range or array to a single row.

TOROW(array, [ignore], [scan_by_col])

TOROW(DROP(B2:D5,2))

becomes

TOROW({19, 92, 62;37, 63, 45})

and returns

{19, 92, 62, 37, 63, 45}.

Step 3 - Count cells

The COLUMNS function returns the number of columns in a given cell range or array.

COLUMNS(array)

COLUMNS(TOROW(DROP(B2:D5,2)))

becomes

COLUMNS({19, 92, 62, 37, 63, 45})

and returns 6.

Step 4 - Count rows

The ROWS function returns the number of rows in a given cell range or array.

ROWS (array)

ROWS(DROP(B2:D5,2))

becomes

ROWS({19, 92, 62;37, 63, 45})

and returns 2.

Step 5 - Create random decimal numbers

The RANDARRAY function returns a table of random numbers across rows and columns.

RANDARRAY([rows], [columns], [min], [max], [whole_number])

RANDARRAY(,COLUMNS(TOROW(DROP(B2:D5,2))))

becomes

RANDARRAY(,6)

and returns

{0.215398134613085, 0.390607168196479, ... ,0.83231474462401}.

Step 6 - Rearrange values in random order

The SORTBY function allows you to sort values from a cell range or array based on a corresponding cell range or array.

SORTBY(array, by_array1, [sort_order1], [by_array2, sort_order2],…)

SORTBY(TOROW(DROP(B2:D5,2)),RANDARRAY(,COLUMNS(DROP(B2:D5,2))))

becomes

SORTBY({19, 92, 62, 37, 63, 45}, {0.215398134613085, 0.390607168196479, ... ,0.83231474462401})

and returns

{19, 92, 62, 37, 63, 45}.

Step 7 - Rearrange values to the original array size

The WRAPCOLS function rearranges values from a single row to a 2D cell range based on a given number of values per column.

WRAPCOLS(vectorwrap_count, [pad_with])

WRAPCOLS(SORTBY(TOROW(DROP(B2:D5,2)),RANDARRAY(,COLUMNS(TOROW(DROP(B2:D5,2))))),ROWS(DROP(B2:D5,2)))

becomes

WRAPCOLS({19, 92, 62, 37, 63, 45}, ROWS(DROP(B2:D5,2)))

becomes

WRAPCOLS({19, 92, 62, 37, 63, 45}, 2)

and returns

{19, 92, 62; 37, 63, 45}.

Step 8 - Shorten formula

The LET function lets you name intermediate calculation results which can shorten formulas considerably and improve performance.

LET(name1name_value1calculation_or_name2, [name_value2calculation_or_name3...])

WRAPCOLS(SORTBY(TOROW(DROP(B2:D5, 2)), RANDARRAY(, COLUMNS(TOROW(DROP(B2:D5, 2))))), TOROW(DROP(B2:D5, 2)))

becomes

LET(z, DROP(B2:D5, 2), x, TOROW(z), WRAPCOLS(SORTBY(x, RANDARRAY(, COLUMNS(x))), ROWS(z)))

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9. DROP Function - multiple source ranges

DROP function multiple source ranges

The picture above shows a formula that merges three non-contiguous cell ranges and removes the last column.

Dynamic array formula in cell B9:

=DROP(VSTACK(B3:D6, F3:H6, J3:L6), , -)

9.1 Explaining formula

Step 1 - Stack values horizontally

The VSTACK function lets you combine cell ranges or arrays, it joins data to the first blank cell at the bottom of a cell range or array (vertical stacking)

VSTACK(array1, [array2],...)

VSTACK(B3:D6, F3:H6, J3:L6)

becomes

VSTACK({"Peach", 43, 1.03;"Blueberry", 39, 1.48;"Apple", 46, 1.1;"Grapefruit", 14, 0.72}, {"Mandarin", 29, 0.78;"Raspberry", 33, 1.07;"Plum", 25, 0.9;"Mango", 37, 1.13}, {"Pear", 17, 0.63;"Orange", 31, 1.06;"Lime", 17, 1.27;"Kiwi", 45, 0.58})

and returns

{"Peach", 43, 1.03;
"Blueberry", 39, 1.48;
"Apple", 46, 1.1;
"Grapefruit", 14, 0.72;
"Mandarin", 29, 0.78;
"Raspberry", 33, 1.07;
"Plum", 25, 0.9;
"Mango", 37, 1.13;
"Pear", 17, 0.63;
"Orange", 31, 1.06;
"Lime", 17, 1.27;
"Kiwi", 45, 0.58}

Step 2 - Remove last column

DROP(VSTACK(B3:D6, F3:H6, J3:L6), , 2)

becomes

DROP({"Peach", 43, 1.03;
"Blueberry", 39, 1.48;
"Apple", 46, 1.1;
"Grapefruit", 14, 0.72;
"Mandarin", 29, 0.78;
"Raspberry", 33, 1.07;
"Plum", 25, 0.9;
"Mango", 37, 1.13;
"Pear", 17, 0.63;
"Orange", 31, 1.06;
"Lime", 17, 1.27;
"Kiwi", 45, 0.58}, , 2)

and returns

{"Peach", 43;
"Blueberry", 39;
"Apple", 46;
"Grapefruit", 14;
"Mandarin", 29;
"Raspberry", 33;
"Plum", 25;
"Mango", 37;
"Pear", 17;
"Orange", 31;
"Lime", 17;
"Kiwi", 45}

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