Excel 2016 from Scratch Exercise

Absolute Reference B

Protect Sheet and Unlock Cells

An Excel tutorial by Peter Kalmstrom

Excel 2016 iconIn earlier demos in the Excel 2016 from Scratch series, Peter Kalmstrom has talked about the benefits of using relative references.

However, sometimes you don't want the cell reference to change when you fill formulas into other cells, and in that case you should use an absolute reference instead.

Absolute references can be created in two ways, and Peter shows both of them in the demo below. He also shows how to protect a sheet so that the content will be impossible to change and how to exclude some cells from that protection.

As an example Peter uses a calculation of book prices including the VAT tax. The VAT should of course be the same for all books, so the formulas must include an absolute reference to the cell which contains the VAT percentage.


If you want to try the exercise yourself, please download the Excel file Peter uses in the demo!


This is what Peter shows in the demo below:

  • What happens if you use a relative reference to the cell that contains the VAT percentage.
  • How to create a formula with an absolute reference using dollar signs.
  • How to give a name to a cell.
  • How to create a formula with an absolute reference using a cell name.
  • How to add a currency format to cells.
  • How to make cells underlined.
  • How to format a range of cells as a table.
  • How to unlock cells.
  • How to protect a sheet so that all cells but the unlocked ones becomes read-only and cannot be changed.
Peter uses Excel 2016 for his demo, but the Excel basics are the same for earlier versions of Excel.

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