3D Reference in Excel

What is 3D Cell Reference in Excel?

As the name suggests 3d reference means a three-dimensional reference. Means referring to something specific apart from the normal view. It is a powerful referencing done when we have multiple data in various worksheets with some common data in all the sheets, if we have to do calculations based on referencing each sheet manually then it will be a tedious task instead we can use the 3D reference which will refer to all the sheets at once in excel workbook.


In the digital world, it means referring to some data to any other address.

How to Use 3D Cell Reference in Excel? (with Examples)

You can download this 3D Reference Excel Template here – 3D Reference Excel Template

Example #1

Let us begin with the example of the product explained. We have the price list of some products in sheet one, which is renamed as the price list.

Price list
  • And we have an amount of product sold in another worksheet 2 renamed as Product sold.
product sold
  • Now we will calculate the sales done by the product in sheet 3, renamed as sales.
sales done
  • In a cell, B2 Type the formula, “=” and refer to sheet 1, which is a price list and select the price for the first product, which is product 1.
3D Reference Example 1-3

We can see that in the function bar that excels is referencing the first sheet of the price list to the B2 cell.

3D Reference Example 1-4
  • Now refer to sheet 2, which is Product sold, and select the count of the product sold, which is cell B2.
3D Reference Example 1-5

We can see that in the function bar that excels is referencing the second sheet of the product sold to cell B2.

  • Press enter, and we have the sales done by-product 1.
3D Reference Example 1-6
  • Now drag the formula to cell B2, and excel automatically calculates the sales done by the other products by reference to their respective price list and count of products sold.
3D Reference Example 1-7

In the above example, we gave reference from two sheets, which are from sheet 1 (Price list ) and sheet 2 ( Products Sold ), and calculated the sales done in the third worksheet ( Sales Done).

It is called 3D Cell Reference in Excel.

Example #2

Suppose for a student we have the marks for his quarterly and half-yearly marks for five subjects and the total marks to be calculated in another worksheet.

One Workbook is for Quarter 1 and data for quarter 1.

3D Reference Example 2

Similarly, we have marks for half-yearly and quarter 2.

Data for Half Yearly.

3D Reference Example 2-1

Data for Quarter 2.

3D Reference Example 2-2

Now we calculate the total marks in another workbook by 3D referencing.

  • In the total Marks worksheet type =
3D Reference Example 2-3
  • Now start referring to the marks of different quarters and a half-yearly.
3D Reference Example 2-4
  • Press enter, and we have the total marks for the first subject.
3D Reference Example 2-5
  • Now drag the formula to the last subject, and we will have marks for all the subjects.
3D Reference Example 2-6

Now we have calculated total marks for all the five subjects by 3D reference.

Example #3 – Creating a Chart with 3D Reference

We can not only make calculations but also can create charts and tables through the 3D reference. In this example, we will learn how to make a simple chart using a 3D Cell reference in Excel.

Let us consider we have sales data for a company in a worksheet. Below is the data,

sales data

We will make a chart in another worksheet using the same data as above.

Insert column Chart
  • A blank chart appears, right-click on it and click on select data.
Select data
  • A dialog box opens up. In the chart data range, select the data in the other worksheet, which is the company sales data,
select data source
  • When we click on Ok, we have our chart created in the other worksheet.

We have successfully made a chart using a 3D reference.

Explanation of 3D Cell Reference in Excel

3D reference is referring to different tabs or different worksheets in the same workbook. The data should be in the same pattern if we want to manipulate the data within the workbook.

Suppose we have data in a workbook in C2 cell, and we are using a 3d reference to calculate the value in another sheet in the D2 cell. If, by any chance, the data moved from the first C2 cell then excel will still refer to the same C2 cell as earlier, either it is a null value or any other value.

Also, as explained earlier, 3d referencing means referring data to other worksheets and making calculations or building reports in another worksheet. It means it refers to many cells in different worksheets, given that they are in the same pattern.

Things to Remember

  1. The data must be in the same pattern in all the worksheets.
  2. If the worksheet is moved or deleted, the values will alter as excel will still refer to the specific cell range.
  3. If any worksheet is added between the referencing worksheet, it will also alter the result because of the same reason as excel will still refer to the specific cell range.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to 3D Reference in Excel. Here we discuss how to use 3d Reference in Excel to refer cells in different worksheets along with practical examples and a downloadable template. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –

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