Absolute Reference Excel

Absolute reference Excel in Microsoft Excel is one instance of the cell reference that remains unchangeable, or immutable when the formula is copied to another cell. Thus, it will be good especially if you want to preserve a given reference regardless of the place where you are copying the formula. In Excel, absolute references are considered by typing a dollar sign ($) before the column letter and/or row number.

There are two types of absolute references in Excel:

Absolute Column and Absolute Row Reference:

To make the column and row references stay fixed, add a dollar sign in front of the column letter and row number, respectively. For example, if you have `$A$1` as an absolute reference then even when you copy your formula both columns (A) and rows (1) will remain constant.

Absolute Column or Absolute Row Reference:

If only either column or row should remain constant, then put a dollar sign in front of either column letter or row number. For instance, a $ placed before A in $A1 would fix that first part while allowing the rest of it to adjust appropriately upon copying a formula elsewhere.

Similarly, if you have the absolute reference `A$1`, the row (1) will stay fixed, but the column letter will adjust.

To apply an absolute reference Excel in a formula, you can either type it manually or use the F4 key to toggle between relative and absolute references while editing the formula.

Here’s a brief example:

Suppose you have the following data in cells A1 to B3:


If you enter a formula in cell C2 as `=$A$1+$B$1`, and then copy this formula to cell C3, it will still refer to cells A1 and B1:

Absolute Reference Excel

Formula: =$A$1+$B$1

Formula copied from C2


In this example, the absolute reference Excel ensures that the formula always adds the values from cells A1 and B1, regardless of where it is copied within the spreadsheet.

F4 Key Shortcut:

When one is editing a formula, pressing on F4 can be used to switch between various reference types (relative, absolute column/row, or mixed references). Thus you can change the reference type quickly without having to manually key in the dollar signs.

Use Mixed References for Flexibility:

Depending on your requirements, in some instances, you may desire to use mixed references (e.g., $A1 or A$1) to freeze either the column or row. This allows flexibility when copying functions across various directions.

Named Ranges with Absolute References:

To make your formulas clear and easy to read, consider blending them with named ranges that contain absolute references. This can be particularly handy in complex spreadsheets.