Copy a Formula

 

Copy 101 | Fill Handle | Absolute Reference | Move a Formula | Exact Copy | Copy Magic

When you copy a formula, Excel automatically adjusts the cell references for each new cell the formula is copied to.

Copy 101

Simply use CTRL + c and CTRL + v to copy and paste a formula in Excel.

1. For example, to copy a formula, select cell A3 below and press CTRL + c.

Copy a Formula in Excel

2. To paste this formula, select cell B3 and press CTRL + v.

Paste Formula

3. Click in the formula bar to clearly see that the formula references the values in column B.

Formula Bar

Fill Handle

Use the fill handle in Excel to quickly copy a formula to other cells.

1. For example, select cell A3 below, click on the lower right corner of cell A3 (the fill handle) and drag it across to cell F3.

Copy Formula Across

Result.

Formula Copied Across

You can also use the fill handle to quickly copy a formula down a column.

2. For example, select cell C1 below, click on the lower right corner of cell C1 and drag it down to cell C6.

Copy Formula Down

Result.

Formula Copied Down

Absolute Reference

Create an absolute reference to fix the reference to a cell or range of cells. When you copy a formula, an absolute reference never changes.

1. For example, fix the reference to cell E2 below by placing a $ symbol in front of the column letter and row number.

Absolute Cell Reference

2. Select cell C2, click on the lower right corner of cell C2 and drag it down to cell C7.

Copy Absolute Cell Reference

Check:

Fixed Cell Reference

Explanation: the absolute reference ($E$2) stays the same, while the relative reference (B2) changes to B3, B4, B5, B6 and B7. Visit our page about absolute reference to learn more about this topic.

Move a Formula

To move a formula in Excel, simply use cut (CTRL + x) and paste (CTRL + v). Excel pros use the following trick to move a formula.

1. Select a cell with a formula.

2. Hover over the border of the selection. A four-sided arrow appears.

Four Sided Arrow

3. Click and hold the left mouse button.

4. Move the formula to the new position.

Move a Formula in Excel

5. Release the left mouse button.

Moved Formula

Exact Copy

To make an exact copy of a formula, without changing the cell references, execute the following easy steps.

1. Click in the formula bar and select the formula.

Select Formula

2. Press CTRL + c and press Enter.

3. Select another cell and press CTRL + v.

Result:

Exact Copy

Conclusion: cell A3 and cell B3 contain the exact same formula.

Copy Magic

To make an exact copy of multiple formulas, repeat the previous steps for each formula. You can also use the following magic trick.

1. Select multiple formulas.

Select Multiple Formulas

2. Replace all equal signs with xxx.

Replace All

Result.

Ready to Copy

3. Use CTRL + c and CTRL + v to copy and paste the text strings.

Text Strings

4. Select the range B6:B10, hold down CTRL, select the range E6:E10 and replace all occurrences of 'xxx' with equal signs (the exact opposite of step 2).

Result.

Copy Magic

Conclusion: cell B6 and cell E6 contain the exact same formula, cell B7 and cell E7 contain the exact same formula, etc.