/ Definitions / Relative Cell Reference

Relative Cell Reference

Webopedia Staff
Last Updated May 24, 2021 7:53 am
In spreadsheet applications, a reference to a cell or group of cells by indicating how far away it is from some other cell. For example, in Lotus 1-2-3 and many other spreadsheet programs, the cell reference “C2” is relative. Initially it points to the cell in the third column and second row, but it does this by specifying how far away this cell is from some other cell. For example, if you insert this reference in cell A1, the program will translate it to “2 columns right and 1 row down”. If you then copy the reference to cell B4, it will now point to cell D5.

In contrast, an absolute cell reference always points to the same cell, no matter where the reference appears.