How to Lock Cell Reference with F4 in Google Sheets

As we know that google sheets offer wide variety of features for every step. Cell referencing is one such feature that is used while entering formula for calculations. While entering formula, instead of entering them manually we can enter cell references for the calculations.

For example, instead of typing digits in formula like 5+7,

We can put the cell reference of that cell that contains these values, like A2 + B2. This will surely speed up your calculations.

References are of two types : relative and absolute.

Relative references

When you move your formula and paste it down in any other cell then you’re your cell references move with it and makes further calculations easy.

For example, if you paste the formula one row down then cell references will also move down to that row. This can be clearly seen from this presentation below.

Relative Cell Reference

Absolute references

But when you want your formula to stick at one place then it is advisable to must use absolute cell referencing.  To practice the same dollar sign ($) is used in a formula. Let’s understand this by an example.

I have a value in cell A1 and a distinct value in column B for each row that I wish to add to A1.

I have locked the cell references in A1 by using dollar signs in my formula in front of the A and in front of the 1.

This is done again by using the dollar sign like $A$1.

Thus, You can also lock your formula on a certain row by placing a dollar sign in front of the cell number. Or you can lock your cell reference on a certain column by placing the dollar sign in front of the cell letter only.

Using shortcut(F4) for locking cell reference

F4 is a shortcut key for locking cell references. To use the same –

Press F4 to insert two dollar signs in your cell reference(absolute cell reference) once you have selected your cell for the formula.

In order to lock the row reference, you would be in need to press F4 twice. And to lock column reference, press F4 thrice.

Thus, here we learnt how to control which cells are references. We learnt both long and short methods to use accordingly with our time.

Harshita Mathur

My name is Harshita Mathur. I come from Jaipur, Rajasthan. I am a law student. Apart from this I am an amateur writer.

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