INDIRECT Formula in Excel (Table of Content)
Introduction to INDIRECT Formula
Indirect Formula is basically referencing to another cell in excel. It is a very useful formula in excel which uses a text string as a reference to find a value for that text string. For those who don’t have an idea about referring we will see a small example.
How to Use INDIRECT Formula in Excel?
In cell D2 we input a small text “Hi” now in cell F2 we have referred cell D2 that is the reason in cell F2 also we have the text “Hi”
Now we will try in a different way. In cell D2 we have text “Hi”, In cell E2 “D2” is mentioned which is a reference cell of “Hi”.
If we call E2 in any cell it will display only text D2 but not the data in cell D2.
In this kind of situations, INDIRECT formula will be helpful. When we call E2 it gives result as D2 if we call E2 with the help of INDIRECT then it will display the text “Hi”.
That means if we call cell E2 in G2, it will take the data in E2 which is D2 as a reference cell and will call the data in that cell. In simple terms, instead of calling D2 cell directly we will the call the cell which has text D2. Hope you got little idea about INDIRECT formula.
4.9 (2,423 ratings)
To make you understand the concept I started with referencing and moved to INDIRECT function. Now we will see the syntax of INDIRECT which was not covered earlier. Below is the syntax, it has two parameters one is ref_text and another is a1.
- Ref_text: The name itself expressing that it is a reference text. If we input the formula like INDIRECT(C2) mean C2 is the reference text.
- a1: Now what is a1 here? it is a logical value which will tell about the reference text.
There are two ways we can refer using INDIRECT one way is A1 method mean if we refer C4 that mean column ‘C’ row 4 simply we are calling as the a1 method. Another way to represent C4 is R4C3 that mean row 4 column 3. This method is called an R1C1 method.
So, if we give TRUE or blank mean reference will be considered in the form of A1 method. If we give FALSE mean reference will be considered as R1C1 method. We will see a few examples of these two methods. Now “Hello” is in the cell B9.
B9 is given as text in cell D8.
Now, if we refer to cell D8 with the INDIRECT formula it will give the data in B9 cell.
A1 method: In this, we can refer D8 with the INDIRECT method
R1C1 method: In this method, we can refer B9 as row 9 and column 2.
Another way we can refer is if a cell has text R9C2 we can refer that cell with the INDIRECT formula in R1C1 method.
In the above screenshot, R9C2 is in cell D10 hence we refer D10 in the formula, but the string reference is in R1C1 method hence given False.
Examples of INDIRECT Formula in Excel
Below are the different examples of INDIRECT Formula in Excel:
Example #1 – Lock Reference
With the use of the INDIRECT method, we can lock the reference also. If we use the reference cell even after adding or deleting the additional row or column the formula will stay constant with the reference.
Consider a small table of data as below.
Need to perform SUM calculation by using the INDIRECT function with reference F21.
We need to perform SUM operation from cell F21 to F23 with the reference as F21 hence keep it in double quotes closed by brackets as shown in the picture.
Now we will insert one more line above A and add another value as below picture.
The formula will pick automatically F21 to F24. If we perform the same with normal SUM operation the formula will change as F22 to F24.
Example #2 – Lock Range
We can lock the range also with this we can keep the formula as standard even when we add or delete the rows.
Consider a small range of data from C55 to C58 as below.
Now we will add the data from C55 to C58 using INDIRECT formula.
Now we will add one new line between 57 and 58.
Even after entering a new line the formula remains the same as C55: C58 only. The results of the SUM will change accordingly.
Example #3 – INDIRECT Formula using Name Range
The INDIRECT formula can be applied with the aname range also. First, give a name to a range of numbers
Input a string “sales “ in the cell G45.
Now find the AVERAGE of sales with using INDIRECT formula.
INDIRECT refers to G45 which has reference string sales and sales is the reference of cells E45 to E48.
Example #4 – INDIRECT Formula with Two Worksheets
Using INDIRECT formula we can refer data from different worksheet dynamically. Consider the same datasheet. Give some name to the sheet-like Example below.
Now we will call the data from Example sheet to sheet2. Before using INDIRECT, we will refer in normal way first.
Observe the formula, if we want to refer other sheet data the format is “sheet name!cell reference”. But to refer with INDIRECT function first we need to take sheet name and cell references in sheet2. Now apply the INDIRECT function.
F11 refers to the sheet name and C11 refers to Cell reference in the Example sheet. But the formula results # REF. Because sheet name should be in string format for that keep the cell address in single quotes and then cell reference with concatenation operator.
“ ‘ “ &Sheet name reference &” ’! ”&Cell reference
Observe the formula, now it has given the results from the Example sheet.
Things to Remember
- The indirect formula can be written in two types of A1 method and R1C1 method. If we do not mention logical reference it will automatically consider as A1 method.
- Lock reference will help to lock a cell or range to make the formula constant.
- While referring the other sheet, the sheet name should be in string format for that need to use single quotes and concatenation operator.
This is a guide to INDIRECT Formula in Excel. Here we discuss How to Use INDIRECT Formula in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –