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Excel Formulas Step by Step Tutorial


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Cell References in Formulas
Cell References in Excel Formulas

Cell References in Excel Formulas

© Ted French


Cell References in Formulas


While the formula in the previous step works, it has one drawback. If you want to change the data being calculated you need to edit or rewrite the formula.

A better way would be to write formulas so that you can change the data without having to change the formulas themselves.

To do this, you need to tell Excel which cell the data is located in. A cell's location in the spreadsheet is referred to as its cell reference.

To find a cell reference, simply look at the column headings to find which column the cell is in, and across to find which row it is in.


The cell reference is a combination of the column letter and row number -- such as A1, B3, or Z345. When writing cell references the column letter always comes first.

So, instead of writing this formula in cell C1:


= 3 + 2


write this instead:


= A1+A2

Note: When you click on a cell containing a formula in Microsoft Excel (see the example above), the formula always appears in the formula bar located above the column letters (circled in red in the example).

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