When you input a formula in an excel cell, sometimes you may encounter the excel circular reference error. The error message is **there are one or more circular references where a formula refers to its own cell either directly or indirectly**. This article will tell you how to fix this error on Excel for Windows & macOS.

### 1. How To Reproduce The Excel Circular Reference Error.

- For example, when you input the formula
**=A1+A2**in cell**A2**and press the enter key, it will pop up a dialog with this error message. - The error message is
**There are one or more circular references where a formula refers to its own cell either directly or indirectly.**

### 2. How To Fix The Excel Circular Reference Error.

#### 2.1 Why The Excel Circular Reference Error Happens.

- Because you input the formula
**=A1+A2**in cell**A2**, cell**A2**‘s value is**A1+A2**. - Then the formula will be translated to
**=A1 + (A1 + (A1 + (A1 + …….)))**. - So the formula contains an endless loop in it, then the circular reference error occurs.

#### 2.2 How To Fix The Error On Excel For Windows OS.

- If you use excel on Windows, click the
**File —> Options**item. - Then it will pop up the
**Excel Options**dialog window. - Click the
**Formulas**item in the**Excel Options**dialog left side. - Check the checkbox
**Enable iterative calculation**in the**Calculation options**area. - You can also change the
**Maximum Iterations**and**Maximum Change**values below the checkbox in the related input text box.

#### 2.3 How To Fix The Error On Excel For Mac OS.

- If you use excel on macOS, click the
**Excel —> Preferences…**menu item on excel top menu bar. - Then it will open the
**Excel Preferences**dialog window. - In the
**Formulas and Lists**section, click the**Calculation**icon to open the**Calculation**dialog. - Check the checkbox before the
**Use iterative calculation**in the**Calculation Options**area.

- You can change the
**Maximum iterations**and**Maximum change**value in the text box below the checkbox.

### 3. What Does The Maximum Iterations & Maximum Change Mean?

#### 3.1 Maximum iterations Options.

- After you enable the
**Use iterative calculation**checkbox in section 2, you can find the error dialog will disappear. - And when you input number
**1**in cell**A1**, you will find cell**A2**‘s value will be**100**. And cell**A2**contains the formula**=A1+A2**. - This is because the default value of the
**Maximum iterations**option is**100**, which means the iteration will repeat**100**times only.

#### 3.2 Maximum change Options.

- Now we change the value of the
**Maximum change**option to**2**. - And when you input the number
**1**in cell**A1**, cell**A2**‘s value will be number**1**also. - This is because when the minus value of 2 adjacent iteration result values in the loop is smaller than the
**Maximum change**option value, then the iteration will stop. - Because in the first loop, the formula
**A1+A2**‘s value is**1**, and cell**A2**‘s initial value is 0. - So the minus value between the first 2 iterations is
**1,**which is smaller than the**Maximum change**option value (**2**), so the loop stop. - If you input number
**2**in cell**A1**, then you will find the number**200**in cell**A2**, this is because the loop exit only after repeating**100**times which is decided by the**Maximum iterations**option. - Because in this case, the minus value between any 2 adjacent iteration results in the loop is number
**2**which is not smaller than the**Maximum change**option value (**2**), so the loop will stop only when the**Maximum iterations**value ( 100) is reached.