3D Cell Reference in Excel (Table of Contents)
What is 3D Cell Reference in Excel?
3D cell reference, as the name suggests refers to a three-dimensional reference, i.e. it refers to something particular, different from normal view. In Excel, it means referring to data in other sheets or other addresses. 3D cell referencing in Excel means referring to data in other sheets and using that data to build reports or to make calculations.
This allows structural inheritance in Excel, where we can use the data in other data sheets and build reports etc. based on this data. This means that with 3D referencing, a cell or a group of cells in other worksheets can be referenced easily. For example, if we have the price list of a product in one worksheet and the quantity or the number of units sold in another worksheet, we can reference both of these data and calculate the total sales in a separate worksheet.
How to Use 3D Cell Reference in Excel?
The best way to learn a concept is through examples. Let us take a look at a few examples to get a better understanding.
- Let us assume, we have a list of prices for a group of products in Sheet 1 which has been renamed to “Price List” as shown below.
- Now, we also have the number of products sold or the Sales Volume defined in another tab – Sheet 2, which has been renamed to Sales Volume.
- Now we wish to calculate the total sales for each product in Sheet 3, which has been renamed to Total Sales.
- Now the next step is to go to Cell B2 and then type the formula, = after this we need to change the reference to sheet 1 where the price list is defined. Once the cell reference has been set, we will need to select the price for the first product, in this case, it is Product 1.
- As we can see, in the function bar, we have the cell reference pointing to the Price List sheet, which is the first sheet. On closer examination, we see that it refers to not just the Price List sheet, but also to cell B2 which is the Sales of Product 1.
- Now we need to put an asterisk (*) in the formula. Asterisk is the symbol for multiplication. We need to multiply Sales with the number of products sold to calculate the total sales for a product.
- Now we need to change the cell reference to point to the second sheet – Sales Volume. Once we have changed the cell reference, we need to select Quantity for Product 1.
- Now we need to simply drag the formula to the rest of the rows in the table and we will get the results for all the other products.
- So basically, in the above example, we successfully gave references from two different sheets (Price List and Sales Volume) and pulled the data to calculate the total sales in a third sheet (Total Sales). This concept is called 3D Cell Reference.
- Now suppose we have a student’s data. We have his half-yearly and quarterly test scores for five subjects. Our objective is to calculate the total marks in a third sheet. So, we have the quarterly test scores for a student in five subjects as shown below.
- Now, we also have the Quarter 2 test scores as shown below.
- We also have the Half Yearly test scores as shown below.
- Now we wish to calculate the total test scores in another worksheet by using 3D Referencing in Excel. To do that, we will apply the formula as follows:
- First, we shall write “=” for Marks in the Total Scores tab for the first subject i.e. Physics.
- Next, we shall change the cell reference to Quarter 1 and then select the marks for Physics from that tab.
- Next, we shall add a “+” sign in the formula to add the next item to the Quarter 1 score. To do this we shall change the cell reference using the 3D reference to Quarter 2 tab and select the quarter 2 marks for physics.
- Next, we shall once again add the “+” sign to the formula to add the next item i.e. the Half Yearly score. To do that we shall change the cell reference once again by using the 3D reference to Half Yearly tab and select the half-yearly score for Physics.
- Now that we have the summation of all the scores for this student in Physics, we shall press enter key to get the total score.
- Now, we shall drag this formula to the rest of the rows in the table to replicate the summation across all the subjects.
- So far, we have seen 3D reference for performing calculations. But we aren’t limited to just that. We can use the 3D reference to make charts and tables as well. In this example, we shall demonstrate how to create a simple chart using this concept.
Suppose we have the sales data for a company.
- Now we shall use this data to create a simple chart in another worksheet. So, we shall create a new tab and rename it to “Chart” and go to Insert tab in the ribbon on the top. Here, we shall select the Insert Column or Bar chart.
- Next, we shall select a simple 2-D Clustered Column chart.
- Now, right-click on the chart area and select “Select Data…”
- Now, we shall get a dialog box to select the chart data source.
- Here we shall select the source data from the Sales Data tab. We shall select the range of cells where we have defined the Sales for each product.
- We notice here that all our listed products are mentioned on the right pane of the dialogue box. This shows the source data selection. We have the option to edit the source data as per our requirement by clicking on the “Edit” button just above this pane.
- After this, we shall click on OK and our chart will be created in the “Chart” tab.
Thus, we have successfully created the chart by using the 3D reference.
Things to Remember
- The data must be in the same format or pattern in all the tabs.
- Even if the referenced worksheet or the cells in the referenced cell range are altered, moved or deleted, Excel would continue to refer to the same reference and in case of alterations, moving or deletion, it will result in the cell reference evaluating to NULL if appropriate values are not found.
- Now, even if we add one or more tabs in between the referenced and final worksheets, it will change the result as Excel will continue to refer to the original reference provided.
This is a guide on 3D Cell Reference in Excel. Here we discuss How to Use 3D Cell Reference in Excel with different examples along with the downloadable excel template. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –