Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Finding a Cell Reference.

Finding a Cell Reference

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 29, 2018)

1

When you are working with tables, you often need to know the reference of a particular cell. For certain functions or fields, Word expects the cell reference to be specified using the Column/Row format that many readers are familiar with in Excel. For instance, A1 is the top-left cell, B1 is one cell to the right, and A2 is one cell below the first cell.

Unfortunately, there is no inherent capability of Word to inform you of the reference of a cell you have selected. You can get around this problem by using a macro. The following example macro will return, in the status bar, the current column and row in which the insertion point is located.

Sub CellRef()
    Const clngAOffset As Long = 64
    ' Word's maximum columns is 64, but this procedure
    ' can cope up to clngMaxCols columns
    Const clngMaxCols As Long = 702
    Dim lngRow As Long, lngCol As Long
    Dim strCol As String

    ' See if in table
    If Selection.Information(wdWithInTable) Then
        ' Get column and row numbers
        lngCol = Selection.Information(wdStartOfRangeColumnNumber)
        lngRow = Selection.Information(wdStartOfRangeRowNumber)
        ' Convert column number to letter
        Select Case lngCol
        Case Is < 27
            ' Single character column reference
            strCol = Chr$(clngAOffset + lngCol)
        Case Is > clngMaxCols
            MsgBox "Table is too big"
            Exit Sub
        Case Else
            ' Two-character column reference
            strCol = Chr$(clngAOffset + Fix((lngCol - 1) / 26))
            strCol = strCol & Chr$(CLng(clngAOffset + 1 _
              + ((lngCol - 1) Mod 26)))
        End Select
        ' Show column, row, and cell reference in status bar
        StatusBar = "Col:" & lngCol & "/Row:" & lngRow _
          & " = Cellref: " & strCol & CStr(lngRow)
    End If
End Sub

When you run the macro, it displays the requested information on the status bar in the following format:

Col:2/Row:1 = B1

You should note that the macro will handle tables that have more dimensions that Word will natively handle. This was not arbitrarily done; programmatically it is just as easy to return the 702nd column of a table (ZZ) as it is to return the 64th column (BL).

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13093) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Finding a Cell Reference.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Inserting a Cross-Reference to an Item in a List

When you create a list using the SEQ field, you may want to create a cross-reference to an item in that field. You can do ...

Discover More

Adding One More Line

It always seems to happen—you print a document and then discover that you should have included one more line of ...

Discover More

Adding a Drop Shadow to a Text Box

One way to make your text boxes "stand off" the page is to add a drop shadow to them. This tip shows just how easy it is ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Adding Table Columns to Columns with Merged Cells

Word's table editor allows you to modify the structure of tables in a wide variety of ways. If you want to add columns to ...

Discover More

Jumping to the Ends of Table Rows

Need to jump from one end of a table row to another? Word provides a couple of handy shortcuts that can make this type of ...

Discover More

Changing Table Cell Text Direction

When creating a table, you can turn the orientation of the text, within a cell, by ninety degrees in either direction ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 8?

2018-05-29 10:43:21

Bill Wolfe

Excellent tip.

One question: is the Chr$() function the same as Chr() ??


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.