Use the value of a cell in Excel

In Excel, it's very easy to use the value of a cell. You just have to call the reference of a cell.

What is the reference of a cell?

In Excel, a cell is often called by its references. In other word, the intersection of a row and a column, like A1, B5, D8,...



Reused the value of a cell

Let's say that you have the date of today in a cell of your workbook. If you want to reuse the value of the cell A1 in the same sheet, you just have to follow these easy steps

  1. Select any cell in your worksheet
  2. Press the =sign (this activate the edit mode)
  3. Select the cell to link (here A1)
  4. The complete formula is the following (easy to understand 😉)


If you wan to link a cell in another sheet, the steps are the same

  1. Select any cell in another sheet
  2. Press the =sign (this activate the edit mode)
  3. Return to the worksheet with the cell that you want to link
  4. Select the cell with the contain to link
  5. The formula is now


Absolute or relative reference?

When you reuse the contain of a cell, there is 3 ways to write the reference

  • When you copy your formulas, you want to change the references of your cell, this is a relative reference (this is the purpose of this article).
  • On the opposite, if you want to stay always on the same cell (same reference), this is an absolute reference.
  • There is a third situation where you want to change only the reference of the row or only the column, that's a mixed reference. You will find an example in this post.

Copy a formula with references downwards

When you copy a formula that contains references to other cells, the copy will change the references according to the direction of the copy.

For example, let's take the formula for calculating the total in C2.


When you copy down this formula, all the references will be change like this

  • The reference of the row changes
  • The reference of the column remains the same

Copy a formula with reference to the right

Now, if we copy a formula to the right, in that case

  • The reference of the columns changes
  • The reference of the row remains the same

This example shows a cumulative sum of sales from month to month.

The formula in C4 is this one


Now, by copying this formula to the right, all column references change and not those of the rows.

As you can see, depending on the direction in which you copy your formula, the cell references will be modified according to the direction of the copy; it's very clever😊

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