Change Column Headings from Letters to Column Numbers

We know that in excel rows are numbered and columns are named alphabetically. However, when using few formulae (like vlookup) where we need to refer a column by the number based on the data set/ the range which we select instead of alphabets. At times, it is difficult to remember the column numbers especially when working with multiple sheets or multiple workbooks having large sets/ range of data. We might end up writing the formula multiple times to get the correct result. In these situations, we do feel that if we can see the column numbers instead of Alphabets it will be much easier to write the formula. With a simple trick, let’s see how to see number of the column instead of alphabets.

This method works for both Excel 2010 and 2013 versions.

  • Open your excel work book.

  • Click on File (top left corner). You can also use shortcut ALT+F to activate file.

  • In the file window click on Options.

  • In the Excel Options window choose Formulas (2nd in the list).

  • Once you click on Formulas In “working with formulas” block you can see the 1st option as R1C1 reference style. By default this is unchecked.

  • Click on the box next to it.

  • Click on OK.

You can now see column numbers instead of alphabets. JJ

See the below image to understand how to turn on/ activate R1C1 style.

Change Column Headings from Letters to Column Numbers


You can see column numbers instead of alphabets only in the current workbook and once you save it you can always see numbers until you uncheck the R1C1 option. All other workbooks will be with the default feature only i.e. Alphabets for columns.


View the following Video to understand in detail

Do you know about R1C1 and already using R1C1 style/ Column Numbers?

Please do share the scenarios/ cases/ situations where you use R1C1 style in the comment box below.

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