Formulas > =COLUMNS()

# How To Use COLUMNS() Function in Google Sheets

Description

Returns the number of columns in a specified array or range.

What are the common questions about the COLUMNS formula?
How do I use the COLUMNS formula to count the number of columns in a range?
Can the COLUMNS formula be used to count only specific columns that meet certain criteria?
How can I use the COLUMNS formula in combination with other functions to perform more complex calculations?

How can the COLUMNS formula be used appropriately?

To count the number of columns in a range: =COLUMNS(range).
To dynamically reference a specific cell in a row: =INDEX(range, row_number, COLUMNS(range)).
To create dynamic ranges for functions like SUM and AVERAGE: =SUM(A2:INDEX(A2:Z, ROWS(range), COLUMNS(range))).

How can the COLUMNS formula be commonly mistyped?

Misspelling the function name as "COLUMN" instead of "COLUMNS."
Incorrectly using square brackets [ ] instead of regular parentheses ( ).
Not providing the correct range reference as an argument.

What are some common ways the COLUMNS formula is used inappropriately?

Attempting to use the COLUMNS formula with non-adjacent or non-contiguous ranges, which will result in an error.
Using the COLUMNS formula to count rows instead of columns, which is not its intended purpose.
Using the COLUMNS formula within a range as an array formula, leading to unexpected results.

What are some common pitfalls when using the COLUMNS formula?

The formula returns the number of columns in the given range, but it does not consider whether there are headers or labels in the range. So, if the first row contains headers, the result will not include them.
Inserting or deleting columns in the referenced range can cause unexpected results or errors in formulas that rely on the COLUMNS function.

What are common mistakes when using the COLUMNS formula?

Incorrectly referencing the range, leading to inaccurate results.
Forgetting to lock the range reference with dollar signs (\$) when using the formula across multiple cells, which can lead to incorrect results when copied.

What are common misconceptions people might have with the COLUMNS formula?

Some users might think the COLUMNS formula counts only non-empty cells, but it counts all columns in the specified range, regardless of whether they contain data or not.
Users might mistakenly believe that the COLUMNS formula can dynamically adjust its result based on the size of the range it is referencing, but it provides a static count based on the initial reference. For dynamic results, you need to use additional functions in conjunction with COLUMNS.

Remember, the COLUMNS formula is a straightforward and handy tool for counting the number of columns in a range, but it is essential to understand its limitations and how to use it appropriately to avoid errors and get accurate results in Google Sheets.

How To Actually Use COLUMNS() in Sheets

`COLUMNS(range)`

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