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Excel Functions

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MS Excel: INDIRECT Function (WS)

Learn how to use the Excel INDIRECT function with syntax and examples.


The Microsoft Excel INDIRECT function returns the reference to a cell based on its string representation.


The syntax for the Microsoft Excel INDIRECT function is:

INDIRECT( string_reference, [ref_style] )

Parameters or Arguments

string_reference is a textual representation of a cell reference.

ref_style is optional. It is either a TRUE or FALSE value. TRUE indicates that string_reference will be interpreted as an A1-style reference. FALSE indicates that string_reference will be interpreted as an R1C1-style reference. If this parameter is omitted, the INDIRECT function will interpret string_reference as an A1-style.

Applies To

The INDIRECT function can be used in the following versions of Microsoft Excel:

  • Excel 2013, Excel 2011 for Mac, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, Excel 2003, Excel XP, Excel 2000

Type of Excel Function

The INDIRECT function can be used in Microsoft Excel as the following type of function:

  • Worksheet function (WS)

Example (as Worksheet Function)

Let's look at some Excel INDIRECT function examples and explore how to use the INDIRECT function as a worksheet function in Microsoft Excel:

Microsoft Excel

Based on the spreadsheet above, the following Excel INDIRECT examples would return:

=INDIRECT("$B$4") would return 3
=INDIRECT("A5") would return 10570
=INDIRECT("A5", TRUE) would return 10570
=INDIRECT("R2C3", FALSE) would return $3.50