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: Understanding R1C1 References.

Understanding R1C1 References

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 23, 2014)

2

Excel, by default, uses a reference format known as A1. This simply means that columns are referred to using letters and rows using numbers. References contain a combination of both the column letter and row number, thereby designating a unique cell.

Not all spreadsheet programs use this same method of referring to cells. The other major method of referencing cells is called the R1C1 format. In this notation, both rows and columns are referred to using numbers. The numbers are differentiated by using of the R and C letters, which stand for row and column. Thus, the intersection of row 5 and column 7 would be referred to as R5C7.

Excel allows you to control whether it uses A1 or R1C1 notation for cell references. To specify which notation format you want to use, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the General tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The General tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. If you want to use R1C1 format, select the R1C1 Reference Style check box; if you want to use A1 format (the default for Excel), clear the check box.
  5. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3010) 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: Understanding R1C1 References.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Locating the My Documents Folder

Need to do some macro processing of documents in the user's My Documents folder? First step is to figure out where the ...

Discover More

Determining a Paragraph's Style in VBA

When processing a document via a macro, it is often helpful to understand what style has been applied to a paragraph. You ...

Discover More

Limiting Scroll Area

If you need to limit the cells that are accessible by the user of a worksheet, VBA can come to the rescue. This doesn't ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Turning Off Dynamic Menus

You may want to adjust the way that Excel displays its various menus. This tip explains how you can turn off the dynamic ...

Discover More

Accessing Old Excel Data

If you have some legacy data stored in very old spreadsheet files, you may be wondering how to get that data into an ...

Discover More

Viewing Workbook Statistics

Excel keeps track of a range of stats about each workbook you use. If you want to take a look at those stats, it's easy; ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 6?

2017-03-18 03:59:32

Alan Elston

This is a great basic tip, that someone using Excel should learn at an early stage, In my opinion.
It would save a lot of confusion later when one , as is typically the case, comes across the Row and column number ( R C ) type convention notation somewhat later in the learning of Excel
Alan


2017-01-18 06:17:20

John

cool


This Site

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.