meaning of dollar sign

“$” seems to be used in calc in different contexts.
I would like greater clarity for it’s use in cell references.

Help topic

The $ sign gets used to fix a cell reference’s x,y values in case of copying the formula to other cells

  1. =$A$1 Here you can copy the formula anywhere in the spreadsheet and the value in cell A1 is displayed.
  2. =$A1 Here if you copy the formula to B1 it will display the value of A1, but if you copy it to say B2 it will display the value in B2.
  3. =A$1 the same as the previous one but columns are fixed and rows increment.

Here you can see the output of the different usages of the $ sign:

This is quite useful for cell referencing for lookups’ and formula that needs a fixed variable.


$ sign indicates the monetary unit of the United States.

These were the few places the $ get used that came to mind.

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In fact, $ is not specific to “fix when copy”. The A1 reference only looks like referring to specific cell. It is so-called relative reference - which means, that when you type in B1 the formula =A1, in fact the formula is “take value from the cell one column left, same row (relative to current cell)”. Whenever you copy the cell B1 and paste it anywhere, this relative meaning is not changed, and pasting it to e.g. D5 will paste there the formula “take value from the cell one column left, same row” - which will look like =C5, because came row is 5, and one column left is C.

Any part of the reference (column, row, or sheet) may be fixed (prepended by $) - and formula =$A1 in B1 means “take value from column A on the same row”. Copy and paste it anywhere - and it will keep this meaning.