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: Displaying the Selected Cell's Address.

Displaying the Selected Cell's Address

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 16, 2016)

Excel allows you to easily see the location of the currently selected cell by examining the contents of the Name Box, to the left of the Formula Bar. This is fine and good, but there are times when you would like to have the address of a cell actually in a cell. For instance, you may want cell A1 to contain the address of the currently selected cell. This means that if cell E4 were selected, then A1 would contain its address, or $E$4. If you then pressed the right-arrow key, then the contents of A1 would change to $F$4.

In order to return the address of the currently selected cell, you must resort to using macros. The following macro will return the value of the cell selected at the time it is run:

Public Function CurrentCell() As String
    Application.Volatile
    CurrentCell = ActiveCell.Address
End Function

The inclusion of the Application.Volatile method means that every time the worksheet is recalculated, this function (macro) is again run. To use the macro you can place the following in any cell desired, including A1:

=CurrentCell

You should note that this macro doesn't result in the contents of A1 changing every time you move to a different cell. Again, the contents of A1 will change only when the workbook is recalculated, either by changing something in the worksheet or by pressing F9.

If, instead, you need to have a "real time" version that automatically updates A1 as the selected cell is changed, you can follow these steps:

  1. Display the VBA Editor by pressing Alt+F11.
  2. In the Project window, at the left side of the Editor, double-click on the name of the worksheet you are using. (You may need to first open the VBAProject folder, and then open the Microsoft Excel Objects folder under it.)
  3. In the code window for the worksheet, click on the Object drop-down list and choose Worksheet. When you do, the Procedure should change to SelectionChange, and the framework for the event handler should appear in the code window.
  4. Change the event handler so it appears as follows:
  5. Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Excel.Range)
        Range("A1").Value = ActiveCell.Address
    End Sub
    
  6. Close the VBA Editor.

Now, as you move about this single sheet, the contents of A1 should be constantly updated to reflect your location.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2302) 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: Displaying the Selected Cell's Address.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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