# Excel OFFSET Function

The Excel OFFSET function returns a reference to a range constructed with five inputs: (1) a starting point, (2) a row offset, (3) a column offset, (4) a height in rows, (5) a width in columns. OFFSET is handy in formulas that require a dynamic range.

**reference**- The starting point, supplied as a cell reference or range.**rows**- The number of rows to offset below the starting reference.**cols**- The number of columns to offset to the right of the starting reference.**height**- [optional] The height in rows of the returned reference.**width**- [optional] The width in columns of the returned reference.

The Excel OFFSET function returns a dynamic range constructed with five inputs: (1) a starting point, (2) a row offset, (3) a column offset, (4) a height in rows, (5) a width in columns.

The starting point (the **reference** argument) can be one cell or a range of cells. The **rows** and **cols** arguments are the number of cells to "offset" from the starting point. The **height** and **width** arguments are optional and determine the size of the range that is created. When **height** and **width** are omitted, they default to the height and width of **reference**.

For example, to reference C5 starting at A1, **reference** is A1, **rows** is 4 and **cols** is 2:

=OFFSET(A1,4,2) // returns reference to C5

To reference C1:C5 from A1, **reference** is A1, **rows** is 0, **cols** is 2, **height** is 5, and **width** is 1:

=OFFSET(A1,0,2,5,1) // returns reference to C1:C5

*Note: width could be omitted, since it will default to 1.*

It is common to see OFFSET wrapped in another function that expects a range. For example, to SUM C1:C5, beginning at A1:

The main purpose of OFFSET is to allow formulas to dynamically adjust to available data or to user input. The OFFSET function can be used to build a dynamic named range for charts or pivot tables, to ensure that source data is always up to date.

*Note: Excel documentation states height and width can't be negative, but negative values appear to have worked fine since the early 1990's. The OFFSET function in Google Sheets won't allow a negative value for height or width arguments. *

## Examples

The examples below show how OFFSET can be configured to return different kinds of ranges. These screens were taken with Excel 365, so OFFSET returns a dynamic array when the result is more than one cell. In older versions of Excel, you can use the F9 key to check results returned from OFFSET.

### Example #1

In the screen below, we use OFFSET to return the third value (March) in the second column (West). The formula in H4 is:

=OFFSET(B3,3,2) // returns D6

### Example #2

In the screen below, we use OFFSET to return the last value (June) in the third column (North). The formula in H4 is:

=OFFSET(B3,6,3) // returns E9

### Example #3

Below, we use OFFSET to return all values in the third column (North). The formula in H4 is:

=OFFSET(B3,1,3,6) // returns E4:E9

### Example #4

Below, we use OFFSET to return all values for May (fifth row). The formula in H4 is:

=OFFSET(B3,5,1,1,4) // returns C8:F8

### Example #5

Below, we use OFFSET to return April, May, and June value for the West region. The formula in H4 is:

=OFFSET(B3,4,2,3,1) // returns D7:D9

### Example #6

Below, we use OFFSET to return April, May, and June value for West and North. The formula in H4 is:

=OFFSET(B3,4,2,3,2) // returns D7:E9

### Notes

- OFFSET only returns a reference, no cells are moved.
- Both
**rows**and**cols**can be supplied as negative numbers to reverse their normal offset direction - negative**cols**offset to the left, and negative**rows**offset above. - OFFSET is a "volatile function" – it will recalculate with each worksheet change. Volatile functions can make larger and more complex workbooks run slowly.
- OFFSET will display the #REF! error value if the offset is outside the edge of the worksheet.
- When height or width is omitted, the height and width of
**reference**is used. - OFFSET can be used with any other function that expects to receive a reference.
- Excel documentation says
**height**and**width**can't be negative, but negative values do work.

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