Quick, clean, and to the point

Address of first cell in range

Excel formula: Address of first cell in range
Generic formula 

To get the address of the first cell in a range, you can use the ADDRESS function together with ROW, COLUMN, and MIN functions. In the example shown, the formula in F5 is:


where data is the named range B5:D14.


The ADDRESS function creates a reference based on a given a row and column number. In this case, we want to get the first row and the first column used by the named range data (B5:D14).

To get the first row used, we use the ROW function together with the MIN function like this:


Because data contains more than one row, ROW returns an array of row numbers:


This array goes directly to the MIN function, which returns the smallest number:

MIN({5;6;7;8;9;10;11;12;13;14}) // returns 5

To get the first column, we use the COLUMN function in the same way:


Since data contains three rows, COLUMN returns an array with three column numbers:


and the MIN function again returns the largest number:

MIN({2,3,4}) // returns 2

Both results are returned directly to the ADDRESS function, which constructs a reference to the cell at row 5, column 2:

=ADDRESS(5,2) // returns $B$5

If you want a relative address instead of an absolute reference, you can supply 4 for the third argument like this:

=ADDRESS(MIN(ROW(data)),MIN(COLUMN(data)),4) // returns B5

CELL function alternative

Although it's not obvious, the INDEX function returns a reference, so we can use the CELL function with INDEX to get the address of the first cell in a range like this:


In this case, we use the INDEX function to get a reference to the first cell in the range by giving INDEX 1 for row number and 1 for column number, with data for array:

INDEX(data,1,1) // returns reference to B5

INDEX then returns a reference to cell B5, and we use the CELL function with "address", to display the address.

Note: The the CELL function is a volatile function which can cause performance problems in large or complex workbooks.

Dave Bruns

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