Google Sheets is a powerful tool that uses formulas to simplify your work. One useful function in Sheets is the ability to use cell references instead of actual values in formulas. This allows you to easily adapt formulas across multiple cells. In this guide, we will explore absolute references in Google Sheets and how you can leverage them in your spreadsheets. So let’s dive in and master this aspect of Google Sheets in just a few minutes.

## Understanding Absolute and Relative References

Before we delve into absolute references, let’s first understand the difference between absolute and relative references in Google Sheets. When you copy a formula that contains a relative reference, the reference changes according to its new position. However, if you use an absolute reference, the copied formula keeps the same values without any changes.

By default, all cells have a relative reference. When you copy data across cells, it adjusts based on its position in the rows and columns. For example, if you copy a formula from cell A1 to A2, the references will adapt accordingly to become =B2+C2.

On the other hand, absolute references in Google Sheets don’t change when copied to other cells. The copied formula retains the same values as the original reference. For instance, if you copy a formula from cell A1 to A2, it will remain =B1+C1. It’s important to note that absolute references are different from absolute values in Google Sheets.

## How to Use Absolute Cell References in Google Sheets

Using absolute references in Google Sheets is simple. To turn a relative reference into an absolute one, you just need to add a dollar ($) symbol before the row or column.

For example, if you want to assign an absolute reference to a row but not the column, you would write it as A$1. Conversely, if you want to keep the column unchanged but allow the row to be relative, you would write it as $A2. To create an absolute reference for both the column and row, write it as $A$1.

Let’s walk through an example to make it clearer. Say we have a spreadsheet that tracks sales data. The first row contains the number of units sold, the second row contains the price per unit, and the third row calculates the total price. The formula for calculating the total price is simply multiplying the number of units by the price per unit.

To create this formula, follow these steps:

- Click on the cell where you want to enter the formula.
- Start the formula with an equal (=) sign.
- Enter the cell address for the cell containing the number of units (e.g., A2).
- Add a multiplication (*) symbol.
- Type in the cell address for the cell containing the unit cost (e.g., B2).
- Press Enter to execute the formula.

If you copy this formula to other cells below cell C2, they will use relative references and adjust the cell addresses based on their location. This is useful when you want the formula to adapt to different rows or columns.

However, let’s say each online purchase of the product incurs a fixed $5 shipping fee, which is specified in cell G1. We don’t want the cell address to change when copying the formula to other cells. To achieve this, we can use absolute references.

Here’s how you can modify the formula:

- Click on the cell where you want to enter the formula.
- Start the formula with an equal (=) sign.
- Nest the first equation by adding a starting bracket.
- Enter the cell address for the cell containing the unit number (e.g., A2).
- Add a multiplication (*) symbol.
- Enter the address for the cell containing the price per unit (e.g., B2).
- Add a closing bracket.
- Write the plus (+) symbol.
- Use an absolute cell reference by adding a dollar ($) symbol before the row and the column (e.g., $G$1).
- Press Enter to execute the formula.

To test if you have correctly applied the absolute reference, you can use the suggested autofill feature to automatically fill in the formula for other cells. All the values in the cells should have the $5 shipping fee added if the steps were executed correctly.

## Shortcuts for Absolute Reference in Google Sheets

While adding the dollar sign manually is quick, there’s an even easier way to apply absolute references in Google Sheets. On a Windows computer, you can select the cell for the absolute reference and use the F4 key. For Mac users, the shortcut is fn+F4.

By pressing the shortcut key while a cell is selected, you can alternate between absolute and relative references. Once in absolute reference mode, pressing the shortcut key again will toggle between an absolute row reference and an absolute column reference.

## How to Use Relative Cell References in Google Sheets

Relative references in Google Sheets are the default behavior. When you write a formula, the cell references are automatically relative.

For example, if you want to calculate totals in our sample spreadsheet, you can use relative cell references. Follow these steps:

- Click on the cell where you want to enter the formula.
- Start the formula with an equal (=) sign.
- Enter the cell address for the cell containing the number of units (e.g., A2).
- Add a multiplication (*) symbol.
- Type in the cell address for the cell containing the unit cost (e.g., B2).
- Press Enter to execute the formula.

To copy this formula to other cells, simply drag the small circle at the bottom right of the cell to fill the rest of the cells. If you click on each cell with the results, you’ll notice that they use relative cell references by default. This means that each formula has cell references related to each other in the rows.

## Frequently Asked Questions about Absolute Reference in Google Sheets

### What Is the Shortcut for Absolute Reference in Google Sheets?

The shortcut for absolute cell reference in Google Sheets on Windows is F4. Pressing the key while a cell is selected will toggle between absolute and relative references. For Mac users, the shortcut is fn+F4.

### What Is an Absolute Formula in Google Sheets?

In an absolute formula, the cell addresses remain constant when the formula is copied and pasted into different cells. Absolute reference formulas do not adapt to the new cell locations but instead retain the same cell references. This is sometimes referred to as using a constant cell reference.

### How Do You Keep a Cell Reference Constant in Google Sheets?

To keep a cell reference constant in Google Sheets, you can use an absolute reference. You can do this by adding a dollar ($) symbol before the column or row in the cell reference of a formula. You can also use the F4 keyboard shortcut to quickly switch between absolute and relative references.

### How Do I Toggle Between Absolute and Relative References in Google Sheets?

To toggle between absolute and relative references in Google Sheets, you can use the F4 keyboard shortcut on Windows. On macOS, the shortcut is fn+F4. Pressing the shortcut key decides whether Google Sheets fixes the cells in a formula and toggles between the three iterations of absolute reference.

### What Does $ Mean in Google Sheets?

In Google Sheets, the dollar sign ($) is used to convert a cell reference into an absolute cell reference. This ensures that the formulas using that particular reference remain fixed and do not change when you copy and drag the formula to other cells.

### What Is an Absolute Cell Reference?

An absolute cell reference in Google Sheets is a constant reference that fixes the cell address in a formula. When an absolute reference is used, the cell address does not change when the formula is copy-pasted into a different cell. To create an absolute cell reference, you add a dollar ($) symbol before the column or row in the cell.

## Wrapping Up Absolute References in Google Sheets

Understanding and using relative and absolute references can be incredibly beneficial in Google Sheets. It saves you the hassle of retyping formulas when you need to copy them to other cells. Mastering absolute references is essential for creating complex spreadsheets in Google Sheets.

We hope this guide has helped you grasp the concept of references in Google Sheets and how to use them effectively. If you want to further enhance your Sheets skills, you can check out our other guides covering topics such as locking cells, referencing another sheet, and creating named ranges.

Remember, if you want to explore a comprehensive user guide for the Mate40 Pro, visit Mr Reviews for all the information you need. Happy spreadsheeting!