Table of Contents### Selecting Cells By Reference

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If a cell contains a formula, Excel defines the cell's precedents as those cells that the formula refers to. For example, if cell A4 contains the formula `=SUM(A1:A3)`, then cells A1, A2, and A3 are the precedents of A4. A direct precedent is a cell referred to explicitly in the formula. In the preceding example, A1, A2, and A3 are direct precedents of A4. An indirect precedent is a cell referred to by a precedent. For example, if cell A1 contains the formula `=B3*2`, cell B3 is an indirect precedent of cell A4.

Excel also defines a cell's dependents as those cells with a formula that refers to the cell. In the preceding example, cell A4 would be a dependent of cell A1. (Think of it this way: The value that appears in cell A4 depends on the value that's entered into cell A1.) Like precedents, dependents can be direct or indirect.