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Lesson 19. Copying Formulas and Recalcul... > Using Relative and Absolute Cell Add...

Using Relative and Absolute Cell Addresses

As I mentioned at the beginning of this lesson, when you copy a formula from one place in the worksheet to another, Excel adjusts the cell references in the formulas relative to their new positions in the worksheet. For example, in Figure 19.1, cell C16 contains the formula =C10+C11+C12+C13+C14, which computes the total expenses for January. If you copy that formula to cell D16 (to determine the total expenses for February), Excel automatically changes the formula to =D10+D11+D12+D13+D14. Because you copied the formula to a different column (from C to D), Excel adjusts the column letter in the cell addresses. If you had copied the same formula to cell C18 (two rows down), then the formula would be changed to =C12+C13+C14+C15+C16; all the cell addresses would be adjusted by two rows. This is how relative cell addresses work.

Sometimes you may not want the cell references to be adjusted when you copy formulas. That's when absolute cell references become important.


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