Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Determining Columns in a Range.

Determining Columns in a Range

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 27, 2020)

1

One of the handy worksheet functions provided by Excel allows you to determine the number of columns in a range. This is accomplished through the use of the COLUMNS function. For instance, consider the following formula:

=COLUMNS(B2:D15)

The value returned is 3, since the range includes columns B, C, and D. You are not limited to address ranges (such as B2:D15); you can also use named ranges with the COLUMNS function.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10206) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Determining Columns in a Range.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Displaying a Set Column Range

Do you want to display a particular range of columns within the Excel window? Here's a couple ways you can accomplish the ...

Discover More

Understanding Styles

Styles are a key concept in Microsoft Word. If you understand styles, you will find it much easier to use Word effectively.

Discover More

Disappearing Column Formatting

Two things go into making your documents look just right: content and formatting. If the formatting seems to disappear on ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

EOMONTH Function is Flakey

Some users have reported problems using the EOMONTH function in later versions of Excel, beginning with Excel 2007. The ...

Discover More

Using the FORECAST Function

Excel provides a handy worksheet function that allows you to forecast values based upon a set of known values. This ...

Discover More

Using COUNTIF with Colors

Excel allows you to easily format cells with different fonts, borders, and colors. If you want to count the number of ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 5?

2020-06-29 10:43:52

Ken C

Wow! I just realized that the COLUMNS function can be used in a VLOOKUP so that you don't have to count columns. For example:

=VLOOKUP($A2,Sheet2!$A$2:$E$9999,(COLUMNS(A:E)),FALSE)

Could be handy when you have a lot of columns.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.