Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Indirect References to a DSUM Parameter.

Indirect References to a DSUM Parameter

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 16, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


Octavio has a worksheet that has a lot of named ranges in it. In one section of his worksheet he has a list of those names. In a formula that uses the DSUM function, Octavio wants to use different cells in this list to refer to the actual "database" that is used by the function. For instance, if "February11" is a named range and cell F12 contains the text "February11," Octavio wants to specify F12 as the first parameter in the DSUM function and have it get the actual range. When he tries the following, where Criteria is a named range for the summation criteria, he gets an error:

=DSUM(F12, "Profit", Criteria)

The solution to this is to use, instead of the actual cell address, the results of the INDIRECT function. This function grabs whatever is in the cell it references and uses that content as a "pointer" to another cell or range. Thus, if cell F12 contains the text "February11", the following two formulas provide the exact same result:

=DSUM(INDIRECT(F12), "Profit", Criteria)
=DSUM(February11, "Profit", Criteria)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5664) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Indirect References to a DSUM Parameter.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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