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Using Labels in Excel Formulas and Functions


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Simplify Your Excel 2003 Formulas
Excel 2003 formula uses a label

Excel 2003 formula uses a label

© Ted French

Although Excel, and electronic spreadsheet applications in general, are very useful programs, one area that causes many of its users difficulties is that of cell references or cell addresses.

Although not difficult to understand, cell references cause users problems when they try to use them in functions, formulas, when creating charts, and any other time when they must identify a range of cells by its references.

Range Names
One option that helps is using range names to identify blocks of data. While definitely useful, it can be a lot of work to give every piece of data a name, especially in a large worksheet. Added to that, is the problem of trying to remember which name goes with which range of data.

In the more recent versions of Excel (from Excel 97 onwards) another way of avoiding cell references has been available - that of using labels in functions and formulas.

The labels that are used are the column and row headings that identify the data in the worksheet. In the example above, rather than typing in the references B3 : B9 to identify the data location in the function we use the heading label Expenses instead.

Excel assumes that a label used in a formula or function refers to all the data directly under or to the right of the label. Excel includes all the data in the function or formula until it reaches a blank cell.

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