What is the purpose of the OFFSET Excel Function?

What is the purpose of the OFFSET Excel Function?

The OFFSET function is a lookup, and the reference function in Excel is classified under the Lookup and Reference functions. Offset excel will return a range of cells as a result of the operation. Put another way; it will produce a given number of rows and columns from a starting range provided.

When the OFFSET function is called, the following variables are necessary:

  • Reference (mandatory parameter) – This is the cell range from which the offset should be calculated.
  • A mandatory parameter – Rowsdenotes the number of rows between start (upper left) and start (lower left) of the provided reference and start (lower left) of the returned range.
  • A mandatory parameter, cols, specifies the number of columns between the beginning (top left) of the given reference and the beginning of the returned range.
  • Height (optional argument) – This parameter specifies how tall the returned range should be. If the reference parameter is omitted, the produced content has the same height as the reference argument.

This parameter defines the width of the returned range. Width is an optional input. If the reference is omitted, the produced content has the same breadth as the provided reference.

The OFFSET function has several drawbacks, but there are alternatives.

To effectively use the feature in your workbooks, you need not only be aware of its advantages, but you should also be mindful of its disadvantages as well.

OFFSET is a function that consumes a lot of resources. Excel is kept busy for a short period whenever the source data is changed, which means your OFFSET formulae are updated. This is not a problem for a single procedure in a tiny spreadsheet since the spreadsheet is so small

Alternatives to the use of OFFSET in Excel

 As is frequently the case with Excel, the same outcome may be accomplished in various ways using a variety of different formulas. In such a case, here are three beautiful replacements to the term “offset.”

  • Excel tables

Instead of the typical ranges, we now have a fantastic feature in Excel 2002: fully-fledged Excel tables, instead of the normal ranges. To create a table using structured data, choose Insert > Table from the Home tab or the Ctrl + T keyboard shortcut. You can establish a so-called “calculated column” in an Excel table by putting a formula in a single cell.

  • Excel INDEX function

Although Excel INDEX is not precisely the same as OFFSET, dynamic range references may also be utilized. Unlike OFFSET, INDEX is not volatile. Therefore your Excel won’t slow down.

  • Excel INDIRECT function

Using the INDIRECT function, dynamic range references may be generated from various sources including cell values, cell values, and range text. It may also refer to a different Excel page or workbook dynamically.


The OFFSET formula is a volatile formula, which means that it changes with time. This implies that it will be recalculated every time Excel calculates your worksheet – regardless of whether or not any modifications have been made to the input data. This may cause Excel to lag, especially when working with a complicated workbook.

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