How to Convert Text to Formula Using the INDIRECT Function in Excel

Introduction to the INDIRECT Function in Excel

We can use  the INDIRECT function to get a valid cell reference from a cell value that is stored as a text string.

INDIRECT(ref_text, [a1])

ref_text- This argument is a required one. This is a cell reference, supplied a text that can be either in A1 or R1C1 style.
[a1] – This argument has two values-
If value =TRUE or omitted, the ref_text is in A1 style reference.
and value= FALSE, the ref_text is in R1C1 reference format.

Step 1 – Create a Dataset to Convert Formula to Text in Excel

Let’s say we want to convert a length from meter to feet unit. But the formula which calculates the value is in text format.

Excel Convert Text to Formula Indirect We want to convert the string formula into a real formula that’ll calculate the unit conversion.

Step 2 – Apply the INDIRECT Function to Convert Text to Formula in Excel

  • In cell F3, put the cell reference that holds the value of length in meter unit i.e., B3.

  • In cell G3, write down the following formula.

Excel Convert Text to Formula Indirect

In the formula, we used TRUE as the value of  [a1] argument that indicates the ref_text argument (B3 in cell F3) is in A1 style reference.

  • Press Enter and the output is 52 ft.

Excel Convert Text to Formula Indirect

Dynamic Formula:
The formula we used to calculate the conversion is dynamic. Let’s make some changes:

  • Case 1: If we change the value in B3, the output in G3 will adjust automatically.

Excel Convert Text to Formula Indirect

  • Case 2: In another case, we put a length in the meter unit in cell B4. This time we need to put B4 as the value of cell F3.

The dynamic formula returns the output as 32.8 feet.

Read More: How to Use Excel INDIRECT Range

Things to Remember

  • If we use the ref_text argument from another workbook, we must keep the workbook open to make the INDIRECT function Otherwise, it’ll show #REF! Error.
  • Using the INDIRECT function can cause speed and performance lagging while working with a large dataset.

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Al Arafat Siddique
Al Arafat Siddique

Al Arafat Siddique, BSc, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, has worked on the ExcelDemy project for two years. He has written over 85+ articles for ExcelDemy. Currently, he is working as a software developer. He is leading a team of six members to develop Microsoft Office Add-ins, extending Office applications to interact with office documents. Other assigned projects to his team include creating AI-based products and online conversion tools using the latest... Read Full Bio

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