F4 key – Repeat last action and add $ signs

Keyboard Shortcut

By Neale Blackwood

The F4 function key has a dual personality. When used normally it will repeat your last action. This is useful for formatting, deleting rows and other operations that require a few keystrokes. Pressing F4 can reduce the keystrokes.

Its other use is to add $ signs to cell references when editing in the formula bar or within a cell. Pressing F4 whilst editing in the formula bar (Excel displays Edit in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen) when the cursor is next to or in a cell reference will insert $ signs to the cell reference. Eg A1 turns into $A$1. This is a fixed reference, which will not change when you copy the formula to other cells.

As you keep pressing F4 the $ signs will move around. The sequence is $A$1, A$1, $A1 and back to A1. The second and third in the sequence are mixed references as they fix the row and column respectively.

The normal A1 reference is a relative reference, it changes relative to the where you paste it.
You can remember the F4 key adds the $ signs by looking at the 4 key as it has the $ above it.