The **Excel INDIRECT function** is a Lookup and Reference function, and its purpose is to return the reference specified by a text string. You can use the INDIRECT function when you want to change the reference in the cell within a formula without changing the formula itself. The formula and syntax for the INDIRECT function are below:

**Formula and Syntax**

`INDIRECT (ref_text, [a1])`

**Ref_text**: A reference to a cell that contains an A1-style reference, an R1C1-style reference, a name defined as a reference, or a reference to a cell as a text string. It is required. If ref_text is not a valid cell reference, the INDIRECT function will return the #REF! error.

## How to use the INDIRECT function in Excel

Follow the steps on how to use the Excel INDIRECT function:

- Launch Microsoft Excel.
- Enter data into the spreadsheet or use existing data.
- Select the cell you want to place the result
- Enter the formula
- Press Enter.

Launch **Microsoft Excel**.

Enter your data or use existing data.

Type into the cell where you want to place the result **=INDIRECT(A1)**.

Press Enter to see the result. The result is *42.*

The result is *42* because you are referencing the value in column *D1*, which is *42*. See the photo above.

Now we are going to look up the current sales using the R1C1-style reference method.

Enter where you want to place the result; the formula is **=INDIRECT(“R7C”&COUNTA(7:7), FALSE)**.

The formula *R* represents the Row, which is *Row 7*, and the *C* represents the column.

We use the *COUNTA* function to count cells that contain information.

We input 7:7 in the formula because it is the row that contains the information that you want to look up.

Then we input *False*.

Press Enter to see the result, which is the current sale.

There are two other methods to use the INDIRECT function.

**Method one** is to click the *fx* button on the top left of the Excel worksheet.

An **Insert Function** dialog box will appear.

Inside the dialog box, in the section **Select a Category**, select *Lookup and Reference *from the list box.

In the section **Select a Function**, choose the INDIRECT function from the list.

Then click *OK.*

*A ***Function Arguments*** *dialog box will open*. *

* *

Type into the entry boxes the cell that contains the reference that you want to look up.

Then click *OK*.

**Method two** is to click the **Formulas **tab and click the *Lookup and Reference *button in the *Function Library* group.

Then select *INDIRECT *from the drop-down menu.

A **Function Arguments** dialog box will open.

Follow the same method in **Method 1**.

Then click *OK*.

We hope you understand how to use the INDIRECT function in Excel.

### How does indirect function work in Excel?

The INDIRECT function returns the reference specified by a text string. If a1 is TRUE or omitted, ref_text is interpreted as an A1-style reference, and if a1 is FALSE, ref_text is interpreted as an R1C1-style reference.

### How is indirect function used in data validation?

- On the spreadsheet, select cell C3.
- On the Ribbon, click the Data tab, then click Data Validation.
- From the Allow drop-down list, choose List.
- In the Source box, type an equal sign and INDIRECT function, referring to the first data cell in the Produce Type column:
- Click OK.

**READ**: How to create Custom Excel Functions using VBA

### How do you copy down an indirect formula?

In Microsoft Excel, you can copy formulas and place them elsewhere in the spreadsheet. Follow the steps below:

- Double-click the cell which contains the INDIRECT formula.
- Highlight the formula and right-click the formula and select Copy from the context menu.
- Then select a cell in the spreadsheet and right-click and select Paste.

**READ**: How to write, build, and use VLOOKUP function in Excel.