How to Make a Google Sheets Absolute Reference: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making a Google Sheets absolute reference is like anchoring a cell so that it doesn’t move around when you copy formulas or drag to fill. It’s simple and can save you a lot of hassle when working with big data sets. All you need to remember is to add a dollar sign before the column letter and row number in the cell reference.

Step by Step Tutorial for Absolute Reference in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand that by following these steps, you will be able to create a fixed reference in your Google Sheets formulas. This means that no matter where you copy or move the formula, the reference will remain constant.

Step 1: Select the Cell with the Formula

Click on the cell that contains the formula you want to make an absolute reference.

Once you’ve selected the cell, the formula will appear in the formula bar at the top of the screen. This is where you will make the necessary changes to create an absolute reference.

Step 2: Add a Dollar Sign Before the Column Letter and Row Number

In the formula bar, type a dollar sign before the column letter and row number you want to make absolute.

For example, to make the cell reference A1 absolute, you would change it to $A$1. This tells Google Sheets to always refer to cell A1, no matter where the formula is moved or copied.

Step 3: Press Enter to Save Changes

After adding the dollar signs, press Enter to save the changes to your formula.

Now, when you copy or drag the formula to other cells, the reference will stay fixed on the cell you made absolute. This is extremely useful when you have a constant value or a specific data point you need to refer to across multiple calculations.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your formula will now treat the specified cell reference as fixed. This means that if you drag the formula across rows or columns, the absolute reference will remain constant, ensuring your data stays accurate.

Tips for Absolute Reference in Google Sheets

  • Always double-check your formula after making an absolute reference to make sure it’s referencing the correct cell.
  • If you only need part of the cell reference to be fixed, you can make a mixed reference by only adding a dollar sign to either the column letter or the row number, but not both.
  • Keyboard shortcut lovers can press F4 after clicking on the cell reference in the formula bar to toggle between relative, absolute, and mixed references.
  • When using absolute references in your formulas, be careful not to accidentally move or delete the referenced cell, as it will cause an error in your formula.
  • Remember that absolute references are particularly useful in complex spreadsheets with multiple formulas that depend on specific cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an absolute reference in Google Sheets?

An absolute reference in Google Sheets is a cell reference that remains constant even if the formula it’s used in is copied or moved to other cells.

When should I use an absolute reference?

You should use an absolute reference when you want a cell reference to stay the same across multiple formulas or when you are dragging a formula across several cells.

Can I make an absolute reference to a range of cells?

Yes, you can make an absolute reference to a range of cells by adding a dollar sign before the column letters and row numbers of the range. For example, $A$1:$B$2.

What is the difference between absolute and relative references?

The main difference is that absolute references remain constant, while relative references change based on the position of the formula.

How do I remove an absolute reference?

To remove an absolute reference, simply remove the dollar signs from the cell reference in the formula bar and press Enter.


  1. Select the cell with the formula.
  2. Add a dollar sign before the column letter and row number.
  3. Press Enter to save changes.


There you have it, folks – making a Google Sheets absolute reference is a piece of cake once you get the hang of it. Just remember the dollar sign trick, and you’re golden. Absolute references are a fundamental skill that can save you from a world of headaches when dealing with complex spreadsheets that require consistency. Whether you’re a student, a business professional, or just someone who loves organizing data, knowing how to lock down those cells can make your Google Sheets experience much smoother.

If you’re ever unsure about whether you need an absolute reference, just ask yourself – do I need this cell reference to stay the same, no matter where my formula goes? If the answer is yes, then you know what to do. And don’t forget to check out our tips and FAQs for more insights on absolute references.

So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try on your next spreadsheet, and watch your productivity soar. Happy data crunching!

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