# Excel INDEX Function

**array**- A range of cells, or an array constant.**row_num**- The row position in the reference or array.**col_num**- [optional] The column position in the reference or array.**area_num**- [optional] The range in reference that should be used.

The INDEX function returns the value at a given position in a range or array. INDEX is frequently used together with the MATCH function. MATCH locates and feeds a position to INDEX,which returns the value at that position.

### Examples

The formulas below show how INDEX can be used to get a value:

In the examples above, the position is "hardcoded". Typically, the MATCH function is used to find the position, which is then fed into INDEX. This article explains how INDEX and MATCH can be used together with many examples:

INDEX can be used to return entire columns or rows like this:

where n represents the number of the column or row to return.

### Reference as result

It's important to note that the INDEX function returns a *reference* as a result. For example, in the following formula, INDEX returns A2:

=INDEX(A1:A5,2) // returns A2

In a typical formula, you'll see the *value* in cell A2 as the result, so it's not obvious that INDEX is returning a reference. However, this is a useful feature in formulas like this one, which uses INDEX to create a dynamic named range. You can use the CELL function to report the reference returned by INDEX.

### Two forms

The INDEX function has two forms: **array** and **reference**. Both forms have the same behavior – INDEX returns a reference in a array based on a given row and column location. The difference is that the reference form of INDEX allows *more than one array*, along with an optional argument to select which array should be used. Most formulas use the array form of INDEX, but both forms are discussed below.

#### Array form

In the array form of INDEX, the first parameter is **array**, which is supplied as a range of cells or an array constant. The syntax for the array form of INDEX is:

INDEX(array,row_num,[col_num])

- If both
**row_num**and**col_num**are supplied, INDEX returns the value in the cell at the intersection of**row_num**and**col_num**. - If
**row_num**is set to zero, INDEX returns an array of values for an entire column. To use these array values, you can enter the INDEX function as an array formula in horizontal range, or feed the array into another function. - If
**col_num**is set to zero, INDEX returns an array of values for an entire row. To use these array values, you can enter the INDEX function as an array formula in vertical range, or feed the array into another function.

#### Reference form

In the reference form of INDEX, the first parameter is **reference **to one or more ranges, and a fourth optional argument, **area_num**, is provided to select the appropriate range. The syntax for the reference form of INDEX is:

INDEX(reference,row_num,[col_num],[area_num])

Just like the array form of INDEX, the reference form of INDEX returns the reference of the cell at the intersection **row_num** and **col_num**. The difference is that the **reference** argument contains more than one range, and **area_num** selects which range should be used. The **area_num** is argument is supplied as a number that acts like a numeric index. The first array inside reference is 1, the second array is 2, and so on.

For example, in the formula below, **area_num** is supplied as 2, which refers to the range A7:C10:

=INDEX((A1:C5,A7:C10),1,3,2)

In the above formula, INDEX will return the value at row 1 and column 3 of A7:C10.

- Multiple ranges in
**reference**are separated by commas and enclosed in parentheses. - All ranges must on one sheet or INDEX will return a #VALUE error. Use the CHOOSE function as a workaround.

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