Labstep tables support both relative and absolute cell references in formulas.

A relative cell reference is a reference to a cell relative to the position of the cell with the formula. An absolute reference is a cell reference that always refers to a cell by its exact location in the sheet and not with reference to the present cell. For the spreadsheet basics, check out this article first.


Examples of valid relative cell references in formulas

  • SUM(A1:A10) - Sums rows 1 through 10 in the first column 

  • PI( )*C6 - Multiplies pi times the value in cell C6 

  • (A1 + B1) * C1 - Adds the values in the first two cells and multiplies the result by the value in the third cell 

  • IF(A1>5, A1*2, A1*3) - Checks if the contents of cell A1 are greater than 5, and if so, multiplies the contents of cell A1 by 2, or else multiplies the contents of cell A1 by 3 

A screenshot showing cell reference in sums


Using A1 notation to indicate an absolute reference

For A1 notation, use a dollar sign ($) preceding the row or column (or both) to indicate an absolute reference. For example:

  • $A$1 - absolute first column, absolute first row 

  • $A1 - absolute first column, relative row plus one 

  • A$1 -  relative column plus one, absolute first row 

  • A1  - relative column plus one, relative row plus one 


Using R1C1 notation to indicate an absolute reference 

For R1C1 notation, use brackets [ ] around the row or column number (or both) to indicate a relative reference. For example:

  • R1C1 - absolute first row, absolute first column 

  • R1C[1] - absolute first row, relative column plus one 

  • R[1]C1 - relative row plus one, absolute first column 

  • R[1]C1 - relative row plus one, relative column plus one 

  • R[-1]C[-1] - relative row minus one, relative column minus one 

In this notation, the number inside the brackets is an offset from the current cell. This number may be a negative or positive integer or zero. Leaving off the offset entirely is short hand way of indicating a zero offset. So:

  • RC2 is equivalent to R[0]C2

  • R[3]C is equivalent to R[3]C[0]

A screenshot showing how to enter the R1C1 notation


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