In this article, we will learn How to use the INDEX function in Excel.
Why do we use the INDEX function ?
Given a table of 500 rows and 50 columns and we need to get a value at 455th row and 26th column. For this either we can scroll down to the 455th row and traverse to the 26th column and copy the value. But we can't treat Excel like hard copies. Index function returns the value at a given row and column index in a table array. Let's learn the INDEX function Syntax and illustrate how to use the function in Excel below.
INDEX Function in Excel
Index function returns the cell value at matching row and column index in array.
|=INDEX(array, row number, [optional column number])|
array : It is the range or an array.
row number : Ther row number in your array from which you want to get your value.
column number : [optional] This column number in array. It is optional. If omitted INDEX formula automatically takes 1 as default.
Excel’s INDEX function has two forms known as:
All of these might be confusing to understand. Let's understand how to use the function using an example. Here we have this data.
I want to retrieve data at the intersection of 3rd Row and 2nd Column. I write this INDEX formula in cell H2:
The result is Gill:
Reference Form INDEX Function
It is much like a multidimensional array index function. Actually in this form of INDEX function, we can give multiple arrays and then in the end we can tell the index from which array to pull data.
Excel INDEX Function Reference Form Syntax
|=INDEX( (array1, array2,...), row number, [optional column number], [optional array number] )|
(array1, array2,...) : This parenthesis contains a list of arrays. For example (A1:A10,D1:R100,...).
Row number : Ther row number in your array from which you want to get your value.
[optional column number] : This column number in array. It is optional. If omitted, the INDEX formula automatically takes 1 for it.
[optional array number] : The area number from which you want to pull data. In excel it is shown as area_num
Come, let’s have an example.
I have these 3 tables in Excel Worksheet.
Area 1, Area 2 and Area 3 are my ranges as shown in the above image. I need to retrieve data according to values in cell L2, L3 and L4. So, I write this INDEX formula in cell M1.
Here L2 is 1, L3 is 2 and L4 is 1. Hence the INDEX function will return the value from the 1st row of the second column from the 1st array. And that is East.
Now change L2 to 2 and L4 to 2. You will have West in M2, as shown in below image.
And so on.
The INDEX function in Excel is mostly used with MATCH Function. The INDEX MATCH function is so famous that it is sometimes thought of as one single function. Here I have explained the INDEX MATCH function with multiple criteria in detail. Go check it out. How to lookup values using the INDEX and MATCH function
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