Mixed References

Mixed reference

A mixed reference is a reference that is fixed only on part of the reference:

  • either the row
  • or the column

Before showing you an example of a calculation using mixed references, we will detail the use of the $ symbol in a reference.

An absolute reference has two $. There is one for the rows and one for the columns.

But which one does what? 🤔🤨🙄

In fact it's very simple, just look the position of the $

  • If the $ is on the left of the letter it means you lock the column
  • If the $ is on the left of the row number it means you lock the row

Press the key stroke F4 multiple times to change the position of the $.

Multiplication table

To illustrate the use of a mixed reference, we will construct a multiplication table.

The idea here is to create a single formula and copy it for the rest of the document. This will save us writing the 99 other formulas 😉😉

We want to stay always on the headers of our table so we will write the formula as follows


  1. Start by copying cell C4 (Ctrl + C)
  2. Then select all other cells
  3. Finally, paste the formula (Ctrl + V)

The multiplication table is now correct for every single cell.

We have created only one formula and copied it for the 99 other cells. How productive 👍😍😎

Tips to know where to insert the $?

If creating a formula with mixed references is difficult for you at the first glance, use this trick to know where to put the $. 💡

  • Repeat the previous year and this time write 3 or 4 formulas without any $.
  • Your document looks like this
  • Now, display the formulas of your document by activating the menu Formulas>Show Formulas
  • Your spreadsheet now looks like this

Now look carefully at the formulas. 🧐🧐🧐

You notice that for all formulas you have:

  • always the column B
  • and also always the row 3

So it is easy to know where to put the $. It's before the column B and before the row 3 as these are the elements that never change.

Mixed references in a Table

Finally, if you want to create a mixed reference in a Table (Insertion>Table), YOU CAN'T! ⛔⛔⛔

In a Table you can only create absolute or relative references

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