In Excel complex formulas can include several operations. Use complex formulas in Excel to calculate more extensive data.

### What is an absolute reference?

In earlier lessons, we saw how **cell references** in formulas **automatically adjust** to new locations when the formula is pasted into different cells. This is called a **relative reference**.

Sometimes when you copy and paste a formula, you don't want one or more cell references to change. An** absolute reference** solves this problem. **Absolute cell references** in a formula **always** refer to the **same cell** or cell range in a formula. If a formula is copied to a different location, the absolute reference remains the same.

An absolute reference is designated in the formula by the addition of a **dollar sign ($)**. It can precede the column reference or the row reference, or both. Examples of absolute referencing include:

#### To create an absolute reference:

- Select the cell where you wish to write the formula (in this example, H2).
- Type the equals sign (=) to let Excel know a formula is being defined.
- Click on the
**first cell** to be included in the formula (F2, for example). - Enter a mathematical operator (use the multiplication symbol for this example).
- Click on the
**second cell** in the formula (C2, for example). - Add a $ sign before the C and a $ sign before the 2 to create an absolute reference.

- Copy the formula into H3. The new formula should read =F3*$C$2. The F2 reference changed to F3 because it is a relative reference, but C2 remained constant because you created an absolute reference by inserting the dollar signs.

When writing a formula, you can press the **F4** key on your keyboard to switch between relative and absolute cell references. This is an easy way to quickly insert an absolute reference.