The ‘COLUMNS’ function in Excel will return the number of columns between a specified cell range. For example, there are three columns between columns B and D (B, C, D) and thus =COLUMNS(B4:D4) would return an output of 3.

The COLUMNS function can be particularly useful when using functions which require a column argument (e.g. VLOOKUP) on large sets of data where it is not easy to manually count the number of columns in an array.

To identify the specific column number of an individual cell, the COLUMN function is more appropriate to use.

**Syntax **

=COLUMNS(array)

**Arguments **

*array* – input cell range (i.e. the cell the range you wish to know how many columns there are in between)

**Function category**

**Returns**

The COLUMNS function will return the number of columns between a specified cell range.

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