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Converting from Relative to Absolute

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Converting from Relative to Absolute.

Excel allows you to easily edit formulas. In doing so, you can quickly change a cell reference or a range reference from relative to absolute. What if you have a large number of cells in which you need to change from relative to absolute referencing? In this instance, the nature of the problem is well-suited to being solved through a macro.

By using the ConvertFormula method available in VBA, you can easily convert a formula from relative to absolute addressing. The following short macro uses this method to change the addressing method used in a range of cells:

Sub Relative2Absolute()
For Each c In Selection
    If c.HasFormula = True Then
        c.Formula = Application.ConvertFormula(c.Formula, _
          xlA1, xlA1, xlAbsolute)
    End If
Next c
End Sub

The key to how this macro works is, of course, in the ConvertFormula method. The last parameter used by the method is—in this case—xlAbsolute. If you want to adapt the macro so that it changes to other types of addressing, you can change xlAbsolute to xlRelative, xlAbsRowRelColumn, or xlRelRowAbsColumn. (I'm sure you can figure out the purpose of each constant by its name.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1927) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Converting from Relative to Absolute.

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