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Use cell value in formula – Excel & Google Sheets

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This tutorial will demonstrate how to use a cell value in a formula in Excel and Google Sheets.

use cell value in formula Main Function

Cell Value as a Cell Reference

The INDIRECT Function is useful when you want to convert a text string in a cell into a valid cell reference, be it the cell address or a range name.

Consider the following worksheet:

Using INDIRECT 1

The formula in F4 is: =INDIRECT(D4)

The INDIRECT Function will look at the text string in cell D4 which in this case is B4 – it will then use the text string as a valid cell reference and return the value that is contained in B4 – in this instance, 50.

If you copy the formula down, the D4 will change to D5, D6 etc, and the correct value from column B will be returned.

Using INDIRECT 2

The Syntax of the INDIRECT Function is:

The reference style can be either R1C1 style or can be the more familiar A1 style.  If you omit this argument, the A1 style is assumed.

INDIRECT Function

SUM Function With the INDIRECT Function

We can also use the INDIRECT function with the SUM Function to add up the values in column B by using the text strings in column D.

Click in H4 and type the following formula.

Using INDIRECT Sum

INDIRECT Function With Range Names in Excel

Now let’s look at an example of using the INDIRECT Function with Named Ranges.

Consider the following worksheet where the sales figures are shown for a period of 3 months for several Sales Reps.

DATA Range

  1. Select the Range B3:E9.
  2. In the Ribbon, select Formulas > Sort & Filter > Create from Selection.

DATA Range 01

  1. Make sure that the Top row and the Left Column check boxes are ticked and click OK.

DATA Range 02

  1. Excel will now have created range names based on your selection.

DATA Range 03

  1. Click in H4 and set up a table as shown below.

DATA Range 04

  1. In I4, type the following formula:

DATA Range 05

  1. Press Enter to complete the formula.

DATA Range 06

  1. Drag the formula across to column K.
  2. The formula will change from picking up I3 to picking up J3 (the Feb range name) and then K3 (the March range name).
  3. Repeat the process for the AVERAGE, MAX and MIN functions.

DATA Range 07

  1. We can then amend the names in row 3 to get the totals for 3 of the sales reps. The formulas will automatically pick up the correct values due to the INDIRECT

DATA Range 08

  1. Type in the name of the remaining reps in the adjacent column and drag the formulas across to get their sales figures.

DATA Range 09

 

Cell Value as a Cell Reference in Google Sheets

Using the INDIRECT Function in Google sheets works the same way as it does in Excel.
use cell value in formula Google

INDIRECT Function with Range Names in Google Sheets

The INDIRECT function is identical to Excel when it comes to range names in Google sheets.

  1. In the Menu, select Data>Named Ranges.

use cell value in formula Google 01

  1. Type in the name or the range, and then select the range.

use cell value in formula Google 02

  1. Click Done.
  2. Repeat the process for all the months, and all the sales reps
  3. Once you have created the range names, you can use them in the same way as you used them in Excel.

use cell value in formula Google 03

  1. Drag the formula across to February and March.

use cell value in formula Google 04

 

  1. Repeat for the AVERAGE, MIN and MAX functions.

use cell value in formula Google 04

  1. We can then amend the names in row 3 to get the totals for 3 of the sales reps. The formulas will automatically pick up the correct values due to the INDIRECT

use cell value in formula Google 06