Excel: How to Find First Non-Zero Value in Row

You can use the following formula in Excel to find the first column with a non-zero value in a particular row:


This particular formula finds the first value in the row B2:E2 with a non-zero value and returns the corresponding column name from the row B1:E1.

The following example shows how to use this formula in practice.

Example: Find First Non-Zero Value in Row in Excel

Suppose we have the following dataset in Excel that shows the number of fouls by a basketball team in each quarter of eight different games:

Suppose we would like to find the first quarter in which a foul occurred in each game.

In other words, we would like to find the first non-zero value in each row and return the corresponding column name.

We can type the following formula into cell F2 to do so:


We can then click and drag this formula down to each remaining cell in column F:

Excel find first non-zero value in row

Column F now displays the first quarter with a non-zero value in each row.

For example, in Game 1 the first foul occurred in Quarter 3 so cell F2 returns a value of Quarter 3:

Note: If every value in a given row is zero then this formula will simply return #N/A since no non-zero value could be found.

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Excel:

Excel: How to Remove Specific Text from Cells
Excel: A Formula for MID From Right
Excel: How to Use MID Function for Variable Length Strings

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