How to Add a Column Number in Microsoft Excel 2003


The "COLUMN" function in Microsoft Excel 2003 allows you to use the column number in equations, calculations and formulas without creating a series of labels on your spreadsheet that explicitly number the columns. You can use the "COLUMN" function to quickly create numerical labels across the top of a spreadsheet or find a column's value when making a calculation. The "COLUMN" function works with or without a reference argument, but if you want the value of a column other than the one for the cell containing the formula, you must provide a reference.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Excel 2003
  • Choose a cell on your spreadsheet to display the result of your formula.

  • Click the "Insert Formula" button next to the formula bar.

  • Select "Lookup and Reference" from the drop-down list of function categories.

  • Select "COLUMN" from the list of functions and click "OK".

  • Provide a reference for the "COLUMN" formula to use. If you want to use the cell you selected in Step 1, do not enter a reference; if you want to use a different cell, enter that cell's coordinates in the reference box.

  • Click the "OK" button. Your cell will now display the numerical value of the column you selected.

Tips & Warnings

  • Typing "=COLUMN()" into a cell is an advanced way of using the "COLUMN" function without references. If you need to reference another cell, put the reference in between the parentheses.
  • You can use the "COLUMN" function as a reference in most of Excel's mathematical functions. Excel will use the value the function returns like a numerical argument.
  • If you provide an incorrect argument for the reference, Excel will show you an error.


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