If you think about it, you'll realize that the only reason why you would ever need to change a reference is if you plan to copy the formula. Figure 3-1 demonstrates why this is so. The formula in cell C4 is
This formula calculates the area for various widths (listed in column B) and lengths (listed in row 3). After the formula is entered, it can then be copied down to C8 and across to F8. Because the formula uses absolute references to row 3 and column B and relative references for other rows and columns, each copied formula produces the correct result. If the formula used only relative references, copying the formula would cause all the references to adjust and thus produce incorrect results.
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