Article updated on December 10, 2006

How does the R1C1 format work? R1C1 and A1 format are different naming systems to label cells in excel. Cell labels are used in formulas and must be easy to read, follow and understand.

R1C1 is the first cell at the top left corner, A1 in the A1 format. R stands for the Row and C is the Column in the R1C1 format. So for instance, C6 is Row 6 and the Column 3, R6 and C3. (See picture below)

The left picture below shows the R1c1 format and the right picture below shows A1 format.

You can change to the r1c1 format by going to "Tools" | "Options" and the tab "General". Enable R1C1 and press ok!

Why use R1C1 format?

Using the R1C1 format simplifies the complexity in your excel sheets. You can easily discover changes in your formulas, regardless of how small the changes are. That makes it easier to find errors in formulas.

You can se the relationship between different cells visually. You will discover that you can place numbers on rows and columns like you place cards on a table.

Copying one formula from one place to another does not change the formula in contrast with the A1 format.

Absolute and relative cells in the R1C1 format.

Absolute cells

Relative cells.

Use names instead of using the R1C1-system. That simplifies it even further and makes it easier to read, follow and understand.