I would like to use a normal QUERY with where operating in the usual way where A = 'Speed' but with the selected column being determined based on a formula. Specifically, I want to return only the column that has a certain user-determined number in row 1. Row 1 has numbers from the range 4 to 10 without duplicates but in a variable order.

My sample data is:

         A          B        C                  D        E  
   1 | -----        5        6                  7        8
   2 | Speed        Slow     Fair               Medium   Fast  
   3 | Comfort      Bad      Barely acceptable  Bla      Bla,bla                
   4 | Reliability  Low      Acceptable         Blabla   Blablabla 

The query should look something like:

=QUERY('Sheetname'!A1:E; "Select xxx where A = 'Speed')

I'm looking for what I should put in place of xxx depending on the values of row 1.

  • Denoting the content of the sheet at row i and column j as S(i,j), you want to return all the S(i,j) where i satisfies: S(i,A)="Speed" and j satisfies S(1,j)=N. N can vary from 4...10. Correct? If that's the case we should probably rewrite the question to make that clearer. Oct 18, 2019 at 14:49
  • 1
    Cheers for the edits @CorneliusRoemer!
    – Riccardo
    Oct 18, 2019 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


Determine column alphabet letter as follows: =char(64+MATCH(N,1:1,0)) where you substitute the number you want for N=4,5...10.

Then add that to the query string formulaically. Done:

=QUERY(A1:D4,"select "&char(64+MATCH(5,1:1,0))&" where A = 'Speed'")

Important limitation for generalisations: this only works for column index up to 27, because it can't form column names like AA etc.

  • 1
    Great help! Thanks! :-)
    – Riccardo
    Oct 18, 2019 at 15:01

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