Excel VBA: Convert Column Index to Column Name

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Excel VBA: Convert Column Index to Column Name

This article demonstrates how you can convert a Excel column index to the corresponding alphabetical character name of the column. For example, the column number 30 will be converted to the equivalent string “AD”.

I often use this function when I am referring to ranges in Excel, or when I dynamically generate formulas.

' Column Index To Column Name
Public Function ColumnIndexToColumnName(ByVal intColumnIndex As Integer) As String
    ' Constants
    Const NUMBER_BASE As Integer = 26   ' 26th number system, i.e. A-Z
    Const MAX_COLUMNS As Integer = 256
    Const ASCII_A As Integer = 65
    ' Variables
    Dim strName As String
    Dim strChar As String
    Dim intValue As Integer
    ' Valid index?
    If (intColumnIndex < 1) Then
        ' Error
        Err.Raise 234, , "The column index can not be less than 1!"
        Exit Function
    End If
    ' Valid index?
    If (intColumnIndex > MAX_COLUMNS) Then
        ' Error
        Err.Raise 234, , "The column index can not be more than " & MAX_COLUMNS & "!"
        Exit Function
    End If
    ' Build string based on the 26th numbering system,
    ' i.e. A-Z
    ' Build name string
    Do While (intColumnIndex > 0)
        ' Get the remaining value
        intValue = ((intColumnIndex - 1) Mod NUMBER_BASE)

        ' Remove handled value
        intColumnIndex = (intColumnIndex - 1) \ NUMBER_BASE

        ' Get the character
        strChar = Chr(intValue + ASCII_A)

        ' Build the name
        strName = strChar & strName
    ' Return the name
    ColumnIndexToColumnName = strName
End Function


If you would like to dynamically generate a formula with cell references in Excel, it doesn’t work to specify a column index. If you know the row- and column index, then you can generate the valid Excel cell reference name.

' Example constants
Const ROW_INDEX As Integer = 50
Const COLUMN_INDEX As Integer = 30

' Result
Dim strReference As String
Dim objRange As Range

' Convert row index 50 and column index 30 to a valid cell reference, i.e. AD50
strReference = ColumnIndexToColumnName(COLUMN_INDEX) & CStr(ROW_INDEX)

' Get the single cell range
Set objRange = Range(strReference)


Ulf Emsoy has long working experience in project management, software development and supply chain management.

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