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circular reference[′sər·kyə·lər ′ref·rəns]
A situation created by a programming error in which two or more entities each refer to the other so that the execution of the program is carried on endlessly with no resolution.
circular reference(1) A programming conflict whereby the operation of each of two routines requires the result from the other routine. See recursion.
(2) In a spreadsheet, a conflict in which the formula computes the cell that the formula itself is located in. For example, a formula in cell A9 that sums the values of "A7 + A8 + A9" is a circular reference.
|A Spreadsheet Warning|
|Circular references are identified in spreadsheets. However, this Excel example does not indicate which cell is the problem.|