When you work in Excel spreadsheets, it’s often useful to reference the column that a given value is contained in. But remember, spreadsheets can contain a vast number of columns. Rather than searching manually, Excel can quickly provide this information using a simple formula. Let’s learn **how to use COLUMN in Microsoft Excel.**

## How to Use COLUMN in Excel

Before we use the **COLUMN** function in Excel, it’s useful to know how Excel counts columns. They count from left to right, beginning with column A. **Column A** is **column 1**, **column B** is **column 2**, **column F** is **column 6**, and so forth.

Imagine that you have a value in **AZ350.** You need to know what column number **AZ** is. Rather than counting across the columns manually, you can use Excel’s **COLUMN** function to instantly return the solution.

To use **COLUMN**, click into any empty cell in your worksheet. As with any formula, your first step is to type an **=** sign. This tells Excel that the cell contents will be formulas, rather than simple values.

Then, type **COLUMN(** to add the **COLUMN** function to your formula, which so far reads:

=COLUMN(

Next, you’ll need to enter your cell reference. Remember, here we need the column number where cell **AZ350** is located. Type (or click on) cell **AZ350:**

=COLUMN(AZ350)

This completes your formula. Press **Enter** on your keyboard, and Excel will instantly return the column number for cell **AZ350:**

**52.**

Consider the logic. Column A is column 1; column Z is 26. The next range in Excel is AA through AZ, repeating the alphabet a second time. With 26 letters in the alphabet, repeated twice over, you arrive at AZ being column 52.

As you can see, the **COLUMN** function is a quick and easy lookup that you can build in Excel rapidly.