# How to Select a Column in Excel Without a Header Using Formulas?

Have you ever needed to **select a specific column in Microsoft Excel**, but the data doesn’t have headers at the top? You can **select columns without headers in Excel** by using a simple formula. This article will show you the Excel formula to select a column without a header, along with step-by-step examples.

## Understanding Column References in Excel

Before diving into the formula to select a column without a header, it’s important to understand how columns are referenced in Excel:

- Columns are labeled with letters starting with A, B, C and continuing through the alphabet
- After Z, columns continue with AA, AB, AC and so on
- Each cell is referenced by its column letter and row number, like A1, B2, C3, etc.

When you need to **reference an entire column** in a formula, you simply use the column letter followed by a colon, like this:

- A:A to reference the entire column A
- B:B for the entire column B
- C:C for column C

And so on. This type of column reference **selects all the cells in that column, starting from row 1 and continuing down to the last row** with data in the spreadsheet.

It’s important to note that when you use a whole column reference like A:A, Excel includes every cell in that column, even blank cells and cells with formulas. This can sometimes cause unexpected results or slow down your spreadsheet if you have a lot of data. In those cases, it’s better to use a more specific range reference that only includes the cells you actually need.

## Excel Formula to Select Column Without Header

Here is the basic formula to **select a column in Excel without a header** by referencing its position:

=INDEX(A:A,ROW(A1))

Let’s break this formula down:

**INDEX**is an Excel function that returns a value or reference of a cell at the intersection of a particular row and column in a given range**A:A**is the column reference for column A. You can change this to any column letter to select a different column.**ROW**returns the row number of a reference. ROW(A1) will always return 1 since A1 is in the first row.

So this formula is basically saying: “Return the value in column A in the current row number.”

If you enter this formula in cell A1 and then drag the fill handle down, it will return all the values from column A, effectively **selecting the entire column without needing a header**.

You can easily modify this formula to select a different column by changing the column reference. For example:

- To select column C, use: =INDEX(C:C,ROW(A1))
- For column F: =INDEX(F:F,ROW(A1))
- To get column Z: =INDEX(Z:Z,ROW(A1))

And so on for any column in your spreadsheet. Just replace the A:A with the column letter you need.

One nice thing about this formula is that it’s dynamic – if you insert or delete rows above the formula, it will automatically adjust to reference the correct row. That’s because the ROW(A1) part always returns the current row number.

However, keep in mind that if you insert or delete columns, you will need to update the column reference in the formula. Otherwise it will end up selecting the wrong column.

## Example 1: Selecting a Column and Performing a Calculation

Let’s say you have a dataset like this with numbers in column B:

A | B | |
---|---|---|

1 | 5 | |

2 | 12 | |

3 | 8 | |

4 | 21 |

To select column B and calculate the sum of its values, you could enter this formula in A1:

=SUM(INDEX(B:B,ROW(A1)):INDEX(B:B,ROW(A4)))

This uses the INDEX formula twice to create a range reference covering B1:B4, and then wraps the SUM function around it to add up the values.

If you need to sum a larger dataset, you can replace the A4 reference with a reference to the last row. For example, if your data goes down to row 100, you can use:

=SUM(INDEX(B:B,ROW(A1)):INDEX(B:B,ROW(A100)))

You can also use a named range to make the formula more flexible. First, create a named range called “DataRange” that covers your entire dataset. Then use this formula:

=SUM(INDEX(B:B,ROW(DataRange.Rows(1))):INDEX(B:B,ROW(DataRange.Rows(COUNTA(DataRange.Columns(1))))))

This uses the COUNTA function to find the last row with data in column A of your named range, making the formula automatically adjust to changes in the size of your dataset.

## Example 2: Selecting a Column and Counting Cells

Using the same example data, maybe you want to count how many cells in column B have a value greater than 10. You could use this formula in A1:

=COUNTIF(INDEX(B:B,ROW(A1)):INDEX(B:B,ROW(A4)),”>10″)

This selects the range B1:B4 just like the previous example, and then uses COUNTIF to check each cell and count how many are greater than 10.

You can modify the criteria in the COUNTIF function to count cells based on any condition. For example:

- To count blank cells: =COUNTIF(INDEX(B:B,ROW(A1)):INDEX(B:B,ROW(A4)),””)
- To count cells with “apple”: =COUNTIF(INDEX(B:B,ROW(A1)):INDEX(B:B,ROW(A4)),”apple”)
- To count cells greater than or equal to 5: =COUNTIF(INDEX(B:B,ROW(A1)):INDEX(B:B,ROW(A4)),”>=5″)

Experiment with different criteria to count exactly what you need from the selected column.

## Example 3: Selecting Multiple Columns

What if you need to select multiple columns without headers and combine them together? You can use this formula:

=INDEX(A:A,ROW(A1))&” – “&INDEX(B:B,ROW(A1))

This selects column A and column B, and concatenates them together with a hyphen in between. Modify the column references to choose different columns.

For example, if you have first names in column C and last names in column E, you could combine them with:

=INDEX(C:C,ROW(A1))&” “&INDEX(E:E,ROW(A1))

To combine more than two columns, just add more INDEX formulas and ampersands, like this:

=INDEX(A:A,ROW(A1))&” – “&INDEX(B:B,ROW(A1))&”, “&INDEX(C:C,ROW(A1))

This would combine columns A, B, and C together into one cell, with a hyphen between A and B and a comma between B and C.

## Example 4: Selecting a Column in a Different Worksheet

If your data is in a different worksheet, you can still use this formula by including the sheet name in the reference, like this:

=INDEX(Sheet2!A:A,ROW(A1))

Just replace “Sheet2” with the actual name of your worksheet. This selects column A from Sheet2, even if your formula is entered on Sheet1.

You can also use a cell reference from another sheet in place of A1. For example:

=INDEX(Sheet2!A:A,ROW(Sheet2!A5))

This would select the value from column A in the same row as cell A5 on Sheet2. This is useful if you want to align your selected column with data on another sheet.

## Final Thoughts

To **select a column in Excel without a header**, use the INDEX function in combination with the ROW function:

- INDEX selects values from a specified column
- ROW returns the current row number
- Combine them with INDEX(A:A,ROW(A1)) to select all of column A

You can easily modify this formula to select any column in a spreadsheet, count cells, perform calculations, combine columns, and more. With this powerful formula in your toolkit, you’ll be able to work with headerless data in Excel easily and efficiently. Practice using INDEX and ROW in your own spreadsheets to master the technique.

## FAQs

### What is the basic formula to select a column in Excel without a header?

The basic formula to select a column in Excel without a header is: `=INDEX(A:A,ROW(A1))`

. Replace “A:A” with the desired column letter.

### Can I use this formula with VLOOKUP or XLOOKUP?

Yes, you can use the INDEX formula to select a column and feed it into other functions like VLOOKUP or XLOOKUP. For example: `=VLOOKUP("apples",INDEX(A:A,ROW(A1)):INDEX(B:B,ROW(A10)),2,FALSE)`

.

### How do I select a column in an Excel table?

If your data is in an Excel table, you can reference columns by their header names instead of letters. For example, if you have a table with headers “FirstName” and “LastName”, you could select them like this: `=INDEX(Table1[FirstName],ROW(A1))`

.

### What if my data has blank rows?

The INDEX formula will still work with blank rows in your data. It will just return empty cells for those blank rows, which is usually the desired result. If you want to exclude the blank rows from your selection, you can use this formula instead: `=IFERROR(INDEX(A:A,AGGREGATE(15,6,ROW($A$1:$A$100)/(A$1:A$100<>""),ROW(A1))),"")`

.

### How can I select a column from a different worksheet?

To select a column from a different worksheet, include the sheet name in the reference, like this: `=INDEX(Sheet2!A:A,ROW(A1))`

. Replace “Sheet2” with the actual name of your worksheet. This selects column A from Sheet2, even if your formula is entered on Sheet1.

Vaishvi Desai is the founder of Excelsamurai and a passionate Excel enthusiast with years of experience in data analysis and spreadsheet management. With a mission to help others harness the power of Excel, Vaishvi shares her expertise through concise, easy-to-follow tutorials on shortcuts, formulas, Pivot Tables, and VBA.