# How to use Excel COLUMNS Function

This Excel tutorial explains how to use the **COLUMNS function** with syntax and examples.

## Excel COLUMNS function Description

The Microsoft Excel COLUMNS function returns the number of columns in a cell reference.

The COLUMNS function is a built-in function in Excel that is categorized as a Lookup/Reference Function. It can be used as a worksheet function in Excel. As a worksheet function, the COLUMNS function can be entered as part of a formula in a cell of a worksheet.

**Explanation: **The Excel COLUMNS function returns the count of columns in a given reference. For example, COLUMNS(A1:C3) returns 3, since the range A1:C3 contains 3 columns.

### Syntax

The syntax for the COLUMNS function in Microsoft Excel is:

COLUMNS( reference )

### Returns

The COLUMNS function returns a numeric value.