Indirect

 

Cell Reference | Range Reference | Named Range | Worksheet Reference

Use the INDIRECT function in Excel to convert a text string into a valid reference. You can use the & operator to create text strings.

Cell Reference

Use the INDIRECT function in Excel to convert a text string into a valid cell reference.

1. For example, take a look at the INDIRECT function below.

Indirect Function in Excel

Explanation: =INDIRECT(A1) reduces to =INDIRECT("D1"). The INDIRECT function converts the text string "D1" into a valid cell reference. In other words, =INDIRECT("D1") reduces to =D1.

2. The simple INDIRECT function below produces the exact same result.

Simple Indirect Function

3. Do we really need the INDIRECT function? Yes. Without using the INDIRECT function, this would be the result.

Without Indirect Function

4. Use the & operator to concatenate "D" with the value in cell A1.

Cell Reference

Explanation: the formula above reduces to =INDIRECT("D1"). Again, =INDIRECT("D1") reduces to =D1.

Range Reference

Use the INDIRECT function in Excel to convert a text string into a valid range reference. For example, combine the SUM function and the INDIRECT function.

Sum and Indirect Function

Explanation: the formula above reduces to =SUM(INDIRECT("D3:D6")). The INDIRECT function converts the text string "D3:D6" into a valid range reference. In other words, =SUM(INDIRECT("D3:D6")) reduces to =SUM(D3:D6).

Named Range

Use the INDIRECT function in Excel to convert a text string into a valid named range.

1. For example, the AVERAGE function below uses the named range Scores.

Simple Named Range

Explanation: the named range Scores refers to the range D1:D3.

2. However, the AVERAGE function below returns an error.

#DIV/0! Error

Explanation: =AVERAGE("Scores") returns an error because Excel cannot calculate the average of a text string!

3. The INDIRECT function below does the trick.

Average and Indirect Function

Explanation: =AVERAGE(INDIRECT("Scores")) reduces to =AVERAGE(Scores).

Worksheet Reference

Use the INDIRECT function in Excel to create a dynamic worksheet reference.

1. This is what a simple worksheet reference looks like.

Worksheet Reference

Note: cell A1 on Sheet1 contains the value 10. Cell A1 on Sheet2 contains the value 20. Cell A1 on Sheet3 contains the value 30.

2. On the Summary sheet, enter the INDIRECT function shown below. Use the & operator to concatenate the sheet name in cell A1 with "!A1".

Dynamic Worksheet Reference

Explanation: the formula above reduces to =INDIRECT("Sheet1!A1"). The INDIRECT function converts the text string "Sheet1!A1" into a valid worksheet reference. In other words, =INDIRECT("Sheet1!A1") reduces to =Sheet1!A1.

3. If your sheet names contain spaces or other special characters, enclose the sheet name in single quotation marks. Modify the INDIRECT function as shown below.

Add Single Quotation Marks