What Type of Cell Reference Changes When It Is Copied?


Quick Answer

In a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel, relative cell references lack dollar signs before the row and column identifiers, and change when copied and pasted into different cells. Absolute references involve dollar signs before the row and column numbers and remain the same when copied.

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Full Answer

Spreadsheets refer to rows by numbers and columns by letters, allowing individual cells to be identified by referencing a column and row. For instance, the third cell in the second column is referred to as B3. Formulas in spreadsheets perform mathematical calculations using the values in specific cells or blocks of cells. When a formula that references cell B3 is copied one cell over to the right and one cell down, the reference changes into C4. If the same original cell is referenced absolutely using $B$3, the reference remains $B$3 when copied to any other cell.

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