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Excel understands two different styles of referencing for cells and ranges. These are described below:

The A1-style is the most common form of Excel referencing, and is the default style.

This style of referencing is made up of a letter and a number, which represent the column reference and the row number, respectively.

Cells A1-D4 are labelled in the spreadsheet below:

A | B | C | D | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 | A1 | B1 | C1 | D1 |

2 | A2 | B2 | C2 | D2 |

3 | A3 | B3 | C3 | D3 |

4 | A4 | B4 | C4 | D4 |

The R1C1-style of referencing is made up the letter R followed by a row number and the letter C followed by a column number.

Cells R1C1 - R4C4 are labelled in the spreadsheet below:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | |
---|---|---|---|---|

1 | R1C1 | R1C2 | R1C3 | R1C4 |

2 | R2C1 | R2C2 | R2C3 | R2C4 |

3 | R3C1 | R3C2 | R3C3 | R3C4 |

4 | R4C1 | R4C2 | R4C3 | R4C4 |

R1C1 referencing also allows you to define __relative__ cell references by encasing the numeric part of the reference in square brackets. In this case, the numeric part of the reference specifies a number of rows or columns __relative to__ the current cell.

If the row or column number is omitted, this tells Excel to use the current row or column number.

For example, if the current cell is *R3C3* (or cell C3), then:

R[2]C[2] | - | refers to cell R5C5 (or cell E5)(add 2 rows and 2 columns to current cell) |

RC[-2] | - | refers to cell R3C1 (or cell A3)(use current row; subtract 2 columns from current cell) |

R[2]C1 | - | refers to cell R5C1 (or cell A5)(add 2 rows to current cell; use absolute column 1) |

This is illustrated in the spreadsheet below:

Note that you need to tell Excel which style of referencing you are using. This is set by checking, or unchecking, the option **R1C1 referencing style** in the Excel options menu.

This option can be found:

In current versions of Excel (Excel 2010 and later):

- In the
**File**menu, under**Options→Formulas**

In Excel 2007:

- In the main Excel menu (accessed by clicking on the Excel Logo on the top left of the spreadsheet), under
**Excel Opt**__i__ons→Formulas

In Excel 2003:

- In the
drop-down menu, under__T__ools__O__ptions→General

By default, Excel uses the A1 style of referencing, and the columns of your spreadsheet are labelled with letters. However, if you select the R1C1 option, you will notice that the top of your Worksheet columns display numbers, instead of letters.