# How To Copy Formula In Excel Without Changing Cell Reference Understanding Microsoft Excel Cell References

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## Understanding Microsoft Excel Cell References

In Microsoft Excel, a cell reference refers to how you refer to an address or location. In its simplest expression, a cell address is simply a location label, such as A1, which is the intersection of column A and row 1.

Understanding Excel’s cell reference options is key to the accuracy and success of your calculations. You can work with more than one type of cell reference when creating formulas.

There are three types of references in Microsoft Excel:

• Relative

• Absolute

• Circular (which you do NOT want on the worksheet)

Mixed references are a combination of relative and absolute.

Relative

The default formula structure in Excel is that the formula automatically adapts when you copy the formula from one cell to another. This adjustment is known as relative referencing, that is, the content of the formula adjusts the formula relative to (or based on) the new location. This behavior in cell references in Excel is why formulas are updated and adjusted when formulas are copied or moved.

Absolute

If you don’t want the cell references to change when you copy the formula to another cell, you must set one or more values ​​to be constant. It is called absolute reference. Absolute cell references are often used when a formula refers to a constant value on the worksheet, such as an interest rate, labor cost, or forecast percentage. An absolute cell reference says “use this value absolutely or always, regardless of where the formula is.” It’s the GPS of the formula—it’s the exact destination no matter where you start.

You can create an absolute reference for a constant by placing a \$ in front of the column and/or row position that will not change. You can also make part of the formula absolute by highlighting the cell and pressing [F4] function key.

Examples of absolute (or mixed) cell references are:

• \$5 G\$

• 3 B\$

• C8 dollars

Press while creating the formula [F4] repeatedly to switch the cell reference from pure absolute, mixed, or back to relative.

Mixed up

A mixed cell reference is actually just a formula or cell that has both relative and absolute references. For example, if you want to consistently refer to the values ​​in row 4, but copy the formula in each column, the cell reference could be B\$4, which would update to C\$4 when copied one column to the right.

Circular

A circular reference occurs when a cell in an Excel worksheet directly or indirectly refers to itself. For example, entering =100+B2 in cell B2 creates a direct circular reference. An implicit circular reference is when a formula in a given cell refers to one or more other cells, which in turn refer back to the original cell. For example, the formula in C1 refers to cell C2, C2 refers to C3, and C3 refers back to cell C1.

When Excel encounters a circular reference in a worksheet, a circular reference warning appears in the dialog box the first time you open the workbook. You can ignore the circular reference or find this worksheet for editing. STOP! Ignoring circular references risks making your data incorrect and leading to poor decisions. Unfortunately, since many Excel users do not understand circular references, they click on the warning without further action.

If you see the Circular Reference dialog box, click OK, and then find the problem references so you can correct the formula logic:

• Look in the status bar. If you see a message Circular references followed by a cell, then the error is on the active worksheet. If not, navigate to other worksheets in the workbook until you find a worksheet with one or more cell references. -OR-

• Even easier with multiple worksheets, choose Formulas > Error Checking > Circular References, which will show you the circular references of the open workbooks.

Circular references in Excel are usually visually marked on a worksheet with a green marker in the upper left corner of the cell.

Understanding the different types of cell references in formulas is one of the keys to accurate results and success in Microsoft Excel. This is the key to creating and editing formulas more easily and successfully.

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