In the example shown, the formula in cell F5 is: where data is a named range for B5:D10 {2,3,4} If you want only the first column number, you can use the MIN function to extract just the first column number, which will be the lowest number in the array.

### Simple version

Entered in a single cell, the COLUMN function will display only the first column number, even when it returns an array. This means, in practice, you can often just use the COLUMN function alone: However, inside formulas more complex formulas, it’s sometimes necessary to make sure you are dealing with only one item, and not an array. In that case, you’ll want to use MIN to pull out just the first item.

### Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.