if i copy a column of references to the next column it normally copies the references as relative. now the formulas in the next column read correctly but the numbers duplicate the numbers in the original colunm. In other words, the numbers in the secound column appear as if the formulas were absolute. this is maddening. I have had this Acer for a couple of years and have been using Excel for many years, but have never seen this.

you are giving me, as I understand it, basic information about absolute and relative references. This does not help me at all.

When I copy a column to another the cells should fill with relative references and they do. But now the cells display the same numbers as the original column rather than the numbers I have always had. When I tried your example the same error occurred. I copied the cells E6,E7 into F6,F7 and received the values "ABC" in both cells even though the formulas read: "=F1" and "=$E$1".