A cell reference in Excel is a combination of a column letter and a row number that identifies a cell on a worksheet.Â You can also use cell references to create named ranges. A named range is a group of cells given a specific name. Named ranges can then be used in formulas instead of cell references. This can make formulas easier to read and understand.

Cell references inÂ **Excel**Â are very important. Understand the difference between relative, absolute and mixed reference, and you are on your way to success.

### Cell References: Relative

By default, Excel usesÂ **relative references**. See the formula in cell D2 below. Cell D2 references (points to) cell B2 and cell C2. Both references are relative.

1. Select cell D2, click on the lower right corner of cell D2 and drag it down to cell D5.

D3 Cell references B3 cell and C3 cell. Cell D4 references cell B4 and cell C4. Cell D5 references cell B5 and cell C5. In other words: each cell references its two neighbors on the left.

### Absolute Reference

See the formula in cell E3 below.

1. To create anÂ **absolute reference**Â to cell H3, place a $ symbol in front of the column letter and row number ($H$3) in the formula of cell E3.

2. Now we can quickly drag this formula to the other cells.

When we drag the formula down and across, the reference to cell H3 is fixed. As a result, we correctly calculate the lengths and widths in inches. Visit our page about absolute reference to learn more about this type of reference.

### Cell References: Mixed

Sometimes we need a combination of relative and absolute reference (**mixed reference**).

1. See the formula in cell F2 below.

2. We want to copy this formula to the other cells quickly. Drag cell F2 across one cell, and look at the formula in cell G2.

Do you see what happens? The reference to the price should be aÂ __fixed__Â reference to columnÂ __B__. Solution: place a $ symbol in front of the column letter ($B2) in the formula of cell F2. In a similar way, when we drag cell F2 down, the reference to the reduction should be aÂ __fixed__Â reference to rowÂ __6__. Solution: place a $ symbol in front of the row number (B$6) in the formula of cell F2.

Result:

Note:we don’t place a $ symbol in front of the row number of $B2 (this way we allow the reference to change from $B2 (Jeans) to $B3 (Shirts) when we drag the formula down). In a similar way, we don’t place a $ symbol in front of the column letter of B$6 (this way we allow the reference to change from B$6 (Jan) to C$6 (Feb) and D$6 (Mar) when we drag the formula across).

3. Now we can quickly drag this formula to the other cells.

The references to column B and row 6 are fixed.

### Conclusion

You can also use cell references and named ranges in other Excel features, such as conditional formatting and charts.

Here are some of the most common types of cell references:

**Relative cell references:**When you copy a formula with relative cell references to a new location, the references change. For example, if you copy the formula =A1+B1 to cell C1, the formula changes to =B1+C1.**Absolute cell references:**When you copy a formula with absolute cell references to a new location, the references do not change. For example, the formula =$A$1+B1 always refers to cell A1, no matter where you copy the formula.**Mixed cell references:**Mixed cell references are a combination of relative and absolute cell references. For example, the formula =A1+$B$1 refers to cell A1, but the reference to cell B1 does not change when the formula is copied.

Use the F4 key to toggle between different types of cell references.

Cell references are a powerful tool that can help you to create more complex and efficient formulas in Excel. By understanding how cell references work, you can use them to automate your work and save time.

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