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Get to know Excel 2007: Enter formulas

Relative and absolute cell references

Callout 1 Relative references change as they are copied.
Callout 2 Absolute references stay the same as they are copied.

Now that you've learned more about using cell references, it's time to talk about different types of references:

Relative     Every relative cell reference in a formula automatically changes when the formula is copied down a column or across a row. This is why in the first lesson you could copy the January formula to add up February expenses. As the example illustrated here shows, when the formula =C4*$D$9 is copied from row to row, the relative cell references change from C4 to C5 to C6.

Absolute     An absolute cell reference is fixed. Absolute references don't change if you copy a formula from one cell to another. Absolute references have dollar signs ($) like this: $D$9. As the art shows, when the formula =C4*$D$9 is copied from row to row, the absolute cell reference remains as $D$9.

Mixed     A mixed cell reference has either an absolute column and a relative row, or an absolute row and a relative column. For example, $A1 is an absolute reference to column A and a relative reference to row 1. As a mixed reference is copied from one cell to another, the absolute reference stays the same but the relative reference changes.

Next you'll see why you'd use an absolute reference.

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