Change which cells a formula refers to

When you enter or edit a formula (formula: A sequence of values, cell references, names, functions, or operators in a cell that together produce a new value. A formula always begins with an equal sign (=).), cell references and the borders around the corresponding cells are color-coded.

Color-coded cell references

Color-coded cell references

If there are no squares at each corner of the color-coded border, then the reference is to a named (name: A word or string of characters that represents a cell, range of cells, formula, or constant value. Use easy-to-understand names, such as Products, to refer to hard to understand ranges, such as Sales!C20:C30.) range.

ShowChange references that are not a named range

  1. Double-click the cell that contains the formula you want to change. Microsoft Excel highlights each cell or range of cells with a different color.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To move a cell or range reference to a different cell or range, drag the color-coded border of the cell or range to the new cell or range.
    • To include more or fewer cells in a reference, drag a corner of the border.
    • In the formula, select the reference, and type a new one.
  3. Press ENTER or CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER for an array formula (array formula: A formula that performs multiple calculations on one or more sets of values, and then returns either a single result or multiple results. Array formulas are enclosed between braces { } and are entered by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER.).

ShowChange references to a named range

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Select the range of cells that contains formulas in which you want to replace references with names.
    • Select a single cell to change the references to names in all formulas on the worksheet.
  2. On the Insert menu, point to Name, and then click Apply.
  3. In the Apply names box, click one or more names.
Applies to:
Excel 2003