# =\$B2 not working how I expect

#### Chicken Champ

##### New Member
I'm not really sure what to call my problem, probably something very easy to look up if I knew what to call this.

I have a sheet where column and row labels are the same values in the same order (B column is Mike, 2 row is Mike, C column is Suzy, 3 row is Suzy...). So B3 (Mike x Suzy) should be the same value as C2 (Mike x Suzy). If I have B3 be the cell where I input value, and C2 "=B3", fine. Problem is dragging that C2 formula down the 2 row... should end up with D2 =B4, E2 =B5, F2 =B6, etc etc. Doesn't want to do that. Starting off with C2 "=\$B3" doesn't work either, dragging that is just pulling " = \$B3" everywhere even though the \$ should only be locking column reference?

What am I missing?

### Excel Facts

Which lookup functions find a value equal or greater than the lookup value?
MATCH uses -1 to find larger value (lookup table must be sorted ZA). XLOOKUP uses 1 to find values greater and does not need to be sorted.

#### Peter_SSs

##### MrExcel MVP, Moderator
Welcome to the MrExcel board!

Is this, copied to the right what you are looking for?

Excel Workbook
ABCDE
1MikeSuzyKenAnn
2Mikexxabc
3Suzyxx
4Ken
5Annabc
Transpose

#### Chicken Champ

##### New Member
Woof, that works, for generating all the "Mike x Suzy etc" stuff in row 2, but I don't really understand what the "COLUMNS(\$B2:C2)" and " &"" " is doing. I tried to guess that I would step down to "Suzy x Ken etc" with =INDEX(\$C3:\$C5,COLUMNS(\$C3:D3))&"" things don't quite work the same?

#### Peter_SSs

##### MrExcel MVP, Moderator
Woof, that works, for generating all the "Mike x Suzy etc" stuff in row 2, but I don't really understand what the "COLUMNS(\$B2:C2)" and " &"" " is doing. I tried to guess that I would step down to "Suzy x Ken etc" with =INDEX(\$C3:\$C5,COLUMNS(\$C3:D3))&"" things don't quite work the same?
If you put your suggested formula in D3 in the above layout (that is, the first cell to the right of the diagonal in row 3) then it works for me.

Excel Workbook
ABCDE
1MikeSuzyKenAnn
2Mikexxabc
3SuzyxxS-KS-A
4KenS-K
5AnnabcS-A
Transpose

Another option would be to keep referring to rows 2:5 and keep counting the columns from column B like this

Excel Workbook
ABCDE
1MikeSuzyKenAnn
2Mikexxabc
3SuzyxxS-KS-A
4KenS-K
5AnnabcS-A
Transpose

#### Chicken Champ

##### New Member
Oh I see, "COLUMNS(\$x:y)" is just counting number of columns and using that number to reference a row, a way of saying if you're in the second column look at the second row, etc. I still have no idea what the &"" does, but I think I've got enough to at least finish building my table.

Thank you very much!

#### Peter_SSs

##### MrExcel MVP, Moderator
Oh I see, "COLUMNS(\$x:y)" is just counting number of columns and using that number to reference a row, a way of saying if you're in the second column look at the second row, etc.
Exactly.

I still have no idea what the &"" does,
If you don't have that and any cells in the bottom left section of the table are blank the formula would return a zero (0) instead of blank. I have taken the &"" of the end of this cell's formula for example.

Excel Workbook
ABCDE
1MikeSuzyKenAnn
2Mikexx0abc
3SuzyxxS-KS-A
4KenS-K
5AnnabcS-A
Transpose