**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: Non-adjusting References in Formulas.

Everybody knows you can enter a formula in Excel. (What would a spreadsheet be without formulas, after all?) If you use address references in a formula, those references are automatically updated if you insert or delete cells, rows, or columns and those changes affect the address reference in some way. Consider, for example, the following simple formula:

=IF(A7=B7,"YES","NO")

If you insert a cell above B7, then the formula is automatically adjusted by Excel so that it appears like this:

=IF(A7=B8,"YES","NO")

What if you don?t want Excel to adjust the formula, however? You might try adding some dollar signs to the address, but this only affects addresses in formulas that are later copied; it doesn?t affect the formula itself if you insert or delete cells that affect the formula.

The best way to make the formula references ?non-adjusting? is to modify the formula itself to use different worksheet functions. For instance, you could use this formula in cell C7:

=IF(INDIRECT("A"&ROW(C7))=INDIRECT("B"&ROW(C7)),"YES","NO")

What this formula does is to construct an address based on whatever cell the formula appears in. The ROW function returns the row number of the cell (C7 in this case, so the value 7 is returned) and then the INDIRECT function is used to reference the constructed address, such as A7 and B7. If you insert (or delete) cells above A7 or B7, the reference in cell C7 is not disturbed, as it just blithely constructs a brand new address.

Another approach is to use the OFFSET function to construct a similar type of reference:

=IF(OFFSET($A$1,ROW()-1,0)=OFFSET($B$1,ROW()-1,0),"YES","NO")

This formula simply looks at where it is (in column C) and compares the values in the cells that are to its left. This formula is similarly undisturbed if you happen to insert or delete cells in either column A or B.

A final approach (and perhaps the slickest one) is to use named formulas. This is a feature of Excel?s naming capabilities that is rarely used by most people. Follow these steps:

- Select cell C2.
- Choose Name from the Insert menu, then choose Define from the submenu. Excel displays the Define Name dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
- In the Names in Workbook box, enter the name
**CompareMe**. (You can use a different name, if you desire.) - Erase whatever is in the Refers To box, replacing it with the following formula:
- Click OK.

** Figure 1.** The Define Name dialog box.

=IF(A2=B2,"YES","NO")

At this point you?ve created your named formula. You can now use it in any cell in column C in this manner:

=CompareMe

It compares whatever is in the two cells to its left, just as your original formula was designed to do. Better still, the formula is not automatically adjusted as you insert or delete cells.

*ExcelTips* is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training.
This tip (2876) 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: **Non-adjusting References in Formulas**.

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2019-01-31 19:08:29

Lisa

I finally understand INDIRECT now, thanks to you! Much appreciated.

2019-01-26 11:57:44

Gera

2017-11-23 09:38:34

George

2017-04-29 09:07:51

Rajan

Re-writing the question:

I have a cell reference in one of my cells down a column, for example:

(see Figure 1 below)

When I insert a row in Excel and copy formulas from above row, the cell reference in 'Opening Stock' does not update automatically in first following row after the new blank row (should be equal to previous row balance, which is 60 now). But it updates correctly in all other rows below. Is there a way to force Excel to update cell reference to the cell in blank row above?

Have searched the web, but did not get any satisfactory answer. I do not want to convert the data to a table, since it messes up the filters and formatting. Macros don't solve the problem either - they don't copy to the row following the blank one.

It may be mentioned that I found the original Excel problem on other computers at my home and work place and in online spreadsheets too. So it is not related to my computer or my version of Excel.

Can anyone please help?

**Figure 1.**

2016-10-31 17:59:31

Steven

2016-10-06 10:05:18

INDIRECT("'"&A2&"'"&"!" &"F56")

Please help.

2016-07-15 12:36:16

Ernie

INDIRECT("'"&A2&"'"&"!" &"F56")

Please help.

2016-03-31 10:45:51

yonas

A B C D

i need to add the value of A to C and the value of C should not be changed if i delete A is should be constant and must add to C if i inter a number to A.

in short the value of C should be increase as i inter data to A.

please, please help help....

2016-03-23 13:26:32

James

2016-03-01 17:42:08

Cliff Miller

2015-10-08 17:17:21

Brent

I'd like to second what LesW asked. I've been wondering how to do it for years.

2015-06-15 15:53:46

Kelv

The define name saved me a lot of time! Thanks a lot for sharing!

2015-05-31 12:29:04

LesW

2015-01-29 16:15:26

Jeff

This saved us a lot of time! Thank you.

2015-01-22 10:22:48

DaveBoltie

Got a version of Excel that uses the
menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)?
**This site is for you!** If you
use a later version of Excel, visit
our *ExcelTips* site focusing on the ribbon interface.

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