Excel OFFSET Function
How to use the OFFSET Function (WS)
This Excel tutorial explains how to use the Excel OFFSET function with syntax and examples.
The Excel OFFSET function returns a reference to a range constructed in parts: a starting point, a row and column offset, and a final height and width in rows and columns.
Its purpose is to return a range that is a specified number of rows and columns from a reference cell or range.The range that the OFFSET function returns can be a single cell or a range of multiple adjacent cells.
Create a reference offset from given starting point.
The OFFSET function returns a reference.
=OFFSET(reference, rows, cols, [height], [width])
The OFFSET function syntax has the following arguments:
- reference: Required. The reference from which you want to base the offset. Reference must refer to a cell or range of adjacent cells; otherwise, OFFSET returns the #VALUE! error value.
- rows: Required. The number of rows, up or down, that you want the upper-left cell to refer to. Using 5 as the rows argument specifies that the upper-left cell in the reference is five rows below reference. Rows can be positive (which means below the starting reference) or negative (which means above the starting reference).
- cols: Required. The number of columns, to the left or right, that you want the upper-left cell of the result to refer to. Using 5 as the cols argument specifies that the upper-left cell in the reference is five columns to the right of reference. Cols can be positive (which means to the right of the starting reference) or negative (which means to the left of the starting reference).
- height: optional. The height, in number of rows, that you want the returned reference to be. Height must be a positive number.
- width: optional. The width, in number of columns, that you want the returned reference to be. Width must be a positive number.
- If rows and cols offset reference over the edge of the worksheet, OFFSET returns the #REF! error value.
- If height or width is omitted, it is assumed to be the same height or width as reference.
- OFFSET doesn't actually move any cells or change the selection; it just returns a reference. OFFSET can be used with any function expecting a reference argument. For example, the formula SUM(OFFSET(C2,1,2,3,1)) calculates the total value of a 3-row by 1-column range that is 1 row below and 2 columns to the right of cell C2.
- 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" formula; it is recalculated whenever there is any change to a worksheet. It can slow down Excel in a complicated worksheet.
- 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.