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How to enter a formula with cell references

To enter a formula that contains cell references, you have two choices. You can type the references directly, or you can point and click to cells to pick up their addresses.

Let's take a look.

The most basic way to enter cell references in a formula is just to type in the references as you need them. For example, we can type the formula "=B7+D6" directly.

Notice that you don't need to worry about case. When Excel sees a valid reference, it will automatically convert the reference to upper case.

Excel has a nice way of showing you what cells are being referenced in a formula. As you type in each cell reference, Excel will highlight the cells being referenced in a special bounding box with four prominent handles.

Each reference that appears in the formula is color-coded to match the color used to highlight the cells being referenced.

Another way to enter cell references in Excel is to click in the worksheet as you type the formula. Start by typing the formula normally, and click to add references as you go.

Notice that when you select a cell that contains a formula, the formula is displayed in the formula bar, but the cell references are not color-coded or highlighted in the worksheet.

To see the highlighting again, just double-click or click F2.

You can also deselect a cell and click into the formula bar.


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Dave Bruns

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