How to use Excel 3D Reference in Excel


We all want to save our time.

And, by using 3D Reference in Excel you can save your a lot of time.

It’s is like three-dimensional chart or image which has more than one phase.

A normal range is all about a group of cells from a single worksheet.

For Example, in =SUM(Sheet1!A1:A10), “A1:A10” is a group of cells which is referred from Sheet1.

But, a 3D reference is a range of cells in which you can refer to the same cells from multiple worksheets using a single reference.

In simple words, refer to same cell or range from multiple sheets.


Create a 3D Reference

Only one thing which you have to take care before using a 3D reference is all the worksheet should be in a sequence.

Let me show you an example.

Add Worksheets To Use Excel 3D Range

Now here you have 5 worksheets in a workbook.

So, if you want to calculate a sum of range C5:D6 from all the 5 worksheets you have to use a formula like below.


But if you want to create a 3D formula with a 3D reference then it will be something like this.


How 3D Reference Works in Excel

A 3D range formula always works in two different parts.

How Excel 3D Range Works

First, a range of worksheets:

Like a range of cells, you have to create a range of worksheets from which you want to refer cells.

The range of worksheets must be a continues range. In above example, I have 5 worksheets from 2009 to 2013.

Second, a range of cells

A normal range of cell from which you want to refer.

More Information

1. Adding a New Worksheet

If you insert a worksheet between 2009 to 2013.

It will automatically include the value of the range A1:A10 from new sheet in the function you are using.

more information about adding new worksheets in 3d range

2. Deleting a Worksheet:

If you delete a worksheet from 2009 to 2013. It will automatically exclude the value of cell C4 from the function you are using.

3. Sequence of Worksheets:

Here in this example, the range of worksheets starts from “Sheet 2009” and ends at “Sheet 2013”.

The point is, if you move any sheet out of this range, that sheet will exclude from the formula calculation.


One of the most important benefits of 3D-references is that it can shorten your complex formulas.

You don’t have to refer to all the worksheets separately in formulas. And, I hope this method will help you write better formulas.


Now tell me one thing. Have you tired it before? Please share your views with me in the comment section, I'd love to hear from you.

And, please don't forget to share with your friends.

About the Author

puneet one point one

Puneet is using Excel since his college days. He helped thousands of people to understand the power of the spreadsheets and learn Microsoft Excel. You can find him online, tweeting about Excel, on a running track, or sometimes hiking up a mountain.


13 thoughts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Thanks Puneet, apart from ease of function the 3D format saves a lot of keying. I agree with your point of identical layout for each Worksheet.

  2. You’ve really been a blessing. Each time I get a mail from you, I’m one step better than the previous experience.
    I’m learning new things everyday.

  3. I always put in a blank worksheet called start and finish (or whatever you prefer) so my formula looks like:

    This has the advantage that if i want to insert the spreadsheet for 2008 or add 2014 sequentially, I don’t have to change the formulae. Similarly, If they are not named numerically, I can change the order to help people read it without fear of missing a sheet.

  4. I actually stumbled upon this. While I was working in my spreadsheet, I tried it and it worked! I hadn’t known it was even possible. Very handy!

  5. Hello dji phantom 3,

    Thank you. Please subscribe to our newsletter to get all the awesome excel tips & tricks in your mailbox. Also, get your free excel shortcut copy.