Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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: Filling References to Another Workbook.

Filling References to Another Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 9, 2018)

4

When you use Excel's Paste tool to create a reference to a cell in another Excel workbook (not another worksheet in the same workbook), Excel creates the reference in this manner:
='[Sales Master.xls]Sheet1'!$A$5
The presence of the dollar signs means that this is an absolute reference to the cell. Because of this, you cannot use any of Excel's automatic fill options, such as Fill Right (Ctrl+R) or Fill Down (Ctrl+D) or AutoFill, and get the results you expect. Instead, every cell in the filled cells will reference the exact same cell in the external workbook. The solution to the problem is to make a quick modification to the referencing formula before you do the fill. If you remove the dollar signs (both of them), then the formula is now relative, and filling will work the way you expect.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10482) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Filling References to Another Workbook.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Replacing Text in a Macro

When using a macro to process text in a document, it is not unusual to replace one portion of a text string with another ...

Discover More

Performing Calculations while Filtering

The advanced filtering capabilities of Excel allow you to easily perform comparisons and calculations while doing the ...

Discover More

Ensuring Proper Page Numbers for a Table of Authorities

Automatically create a Table of Authorities entry in your document, and Word might place the necessary field at the wrong ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Incrementing References by Multiples when Copying Formulas

You can easily set up a formula to perform some calculation on a range of cells. When you copy that formula, the copied ...

Discover More

Last Non-Zero Value in a Row

If you have a lot of values in a single row, you might want to pull the last non-zero value from that row. There are a ...

Discover More

Working with Imperial Linear Distances

Excel works with decimal values very easily. It is more difficult for the program to work with non-decimal values, such ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 7?

2018-07-09 03:02:11

Alan

A shortcut to removing them is to use the F4 key whilst in edit mode.


2016-03-08 23:30:47

Abdul Malek

Wow!!! great work.

Thank you!


2015-09-08 12:30:17

Keith

This worked great! Thank you!


2015-09-03 15:18:19

sara

I have a workbook with 2 sheets. Sheet one is a list of flavors and store numbers. Sheet two is a color coded spreadsheet with flavors and stores. I have it set up to insert a "check mark" on sheet 1 for a specific store and flavor. I would like to have this information auto populate to sheet 2 with the correct color and column.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.