How To Lock A Cell In Excel Formula $

How To Articles

When working with Excel, it’s essential to understand how to lock a cell in a formula. This simple yet powerful technique can make a significant impact on the accuracy and efficiency of your spreadsheets. Let’s dive into the details of how to lock a cell in an Excel formula and explore some practical examples of when to use this feature.

Understanding Cell References in Excel Formulas

In Excel, when you create a formula that refers to a cell, the reference can be relative, absolute, or mixed. A relative reference adjusts when the formula is copied to another cell, while an absolute reference remains constant. A mixed reference contains both relative and absolute elements.

Using Dollar Signs to Lock Cell References in Excel

To lock a cell reference in an Excel formula, you can use the dollar sign symbol $. Placing a dollar sign before the column letter, row number, or both will make that part of the reference absolute. For example, $A$1 is an absolute reference for cell A1.

Practical Example: Calculating Total Sales

Let’s say I’m creating a sales report in Excel, and I have a column of sales quantities in cells B2 to B10, and the corresponding prices in cells C2 to C10. To calculate the total sales for each item, I can use the formula =B2*C2 in cell D2 and drag the fill handle down to apply the formula to cells D3 to D10. However, for the formula to work correctly, I need to lock the references to cells B2 and C2 as I copy it to other cells.

By using absolute references, the formula should be =$B2*$C2. This way, when I copy the formula from cell D2 to D3, the reference will correctly stay locked to cells B2 and C2, ensuring an accurate calculation for each row.

Personal Tip: Stay Organized With Locked Cell References

One of the things I’ve learned through my experience with Excel is the importance of staying organized, especially when working with large datasets and complex formulas. By using absolute references to lock important cell references, I can avoid errors and easily understand the structure of my formulas at a glance.


Understanding how to lock a cell in an Excel formula is a valuable skill that can save time and prevent errors in your spreadsheets. Whether you’re working on financial models, data analysis, or any other type of Excel project, mastering the use of absolute references will enhance the accuracy and reliability of your work.