Cells are the **building blocks of a spreadsheet**… where your data is stored, calculated, manipulated, and eventually displayed.

Each bordered area where a row and column meets is a cell:

A | B | C | |

1 | Cell | Cell | Cell |

2 | Cell | Cell | Cell |

3 | Cell | Cell | Cell |

There are so many cells in a spreadsheet that you need an efficient way to find them.

This is why each cell has what's called a 'reference'.

## What is a cell reference?

A cell's reference is made up of its corresponding column letter and row number.

It's like **a cell's address**.

The first cell in a spreadsheet is always A1 (the cell at the intersection of column A and row 1).

The cell to the right of A1 is B1 (column B and row 1).

The cell below A1 is A2 (column A and row 2).

You get the idea:

A | B | C | |

1 | A1 | B1 | C1 |

2 | A2 | B2 | C2 |

3 | A3 | B3 | C3 |

## What is a range?

Sometimes you will need to refer to more than one cell at a time.

Instead of entering each cell like this A1,A2,A3,A4 you can use what’s known as a 'range'.

A range is a **group of adjacent cells**.

It cannot contain gaps and must be rectangular.

## How do you reference ranges?

Ranges are referenced like this:

**Top-Left Cell Reference : Bottom-Right Cell Reference** (e.g. A1:A2 or B3:D5)

You just insert a colon between the two references.

For example, these four cells:

A | B | |

1 | A1 | B1 |

2 | A2 | B2 |

Are identified using **A1:B2**.

You can reference entire columns like this:

**Leftmost Column Letter : Rightmost Column Letter** (e.g. A:A or B:D)

You can also begin a range at one cell and end it at the bottom of a column:

**Top-Left Cell Reference : Rightmost Column Letter** (e.g. A2:A or B5:D)

You can reference entire rows like this:

**Top Row Number : Bottom Row Number** (e.g. 1:1 or 2:4)

You can also begin a range at one cell and end it at the end of a row:

**Top-Left Cell Reference : Bottom Row Number** (e.g. B1:1 or A2:4)

## Using cells and ranges in formulas

Cells and ranges can be referenced in formulas by:

- Typing them out, or
- Selecting them by clicking and dragging the mouse (they'll be written in the formula for you automatically)

Using either method, the reference will become a specific color and the corresponding cells in the spreadsheet will be highlighted using the same color.

If an identical range is used more than once in a formula, its color remains the same.

Entering multiple reference like A1,A2,A3,A4 without wrapping them in a function (more on that later) will result in a formula parse error (**#ERROR!**).

Entering just a range like A1:B2 without wrapping it in a function will result in a **#VALUE!** Error.

Don't worry about these things when they happen below… the important thing is that now you know what cell and range references are.

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