Excel relative and absolute cell references

Excel has two types of cell references: relative and absolute. Relative and absolute references behave differently when copied and populated to other cells. Relative references change when the formula is copied to another cell. Absolute references, on the other hand, remain the same no matter where they are copied.

Excel Relative Reference
By default, all cell references are relative. When copied across multiple cells, they change based on the relative position of the row and column. For example, if you copy the formula =A1+B1 from row 1 to row 2, the formula becomes =A2+B2. Relative references are especially handy when you need to repeat the same calculation across multiple rows or columns.

Excel Absolute Reference
Sometimes you might not want to change the cell reference while the cell is being populated. Unlike relative references, absolute references do not change when copied or populated. You can use absolute references to keep rows and/or columns unchanged.

Specify absolute references in formulas by preceding columns and rows with a dollar sign ($). If it precedes either the column or the row (but not both), it’s called a mixed reference.

When writing formulas in Microsoft Excel, you can press the F4 key on your keyboard to toggle between relative, absolute, and mixed cell references, as shown in the video below. This is an easy way to quickly insert absolute references.

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