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Formula to Point Always the Same Column

May 21, 2002 - by Bill Jelen

Dave asks:

I have a worksheet with monthly columns of data in B through M. The total is in row 34. In column N, I entered a formula to calculate the percentage of the total for column B. I entered a formula of =B4/B34. Since I have about 25 cells I want to reference cell B34, when I try to copy the formula down to the next 24 cells holding the control key, it simply skips the same number of cells and divides the total by the wrong cell (not B34).

I solved this by placing dollar signs ($B$34) and then copying down, but when I try to copy everything and set up the next month, it copies $B$34 to the next month also. This is wrong because my new sales total is C34 not not B34.

Do you know how I can get around this?

You'll notice there are two dollars signs in $B$34. Each dollar sign holds one portion of the address as fixed or "absolute". The $34 says "always point to row 34". The $B says "always point to column B". Change you $B$34 to B$34 in the formula. You can then copy the formula, it will always point to row 34, but will point to new months as you copy the formula over.

Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
Excel Dynamic Arrays Straight to the Point

The new Dynamic Array Functions are just one side-effect of an effort to completely rewrite the Calculation Engine in Excel. Joe McDaid and the rest of the CALC team have the laid the groundwork for all future functions in Excel. Yes, the first crop of SORT, SORTBY, FILTER, UNIQUE, SEQUENCE and RANDARRAY are awesome and powerful, but they are just the first of many new functions that will come to Office 365 over the coming years.