You don’t have to rewrite every Excel formula from scratch. Instead, learning how to copy a formula in Excel can save you a ton of time. Let’s learn how to do that.
How to Copy a Formula in Excel
Let’s start off with a simple example of how to copy a formula in Excel. In the list below, I’ve got a formula in G2 that multiples D2 times E2.
Of course, I have a longer list of data that I want to perform the same calculation on. But instead of re-typing the formula one by one by one, we can copy and paste the formula in Excel.
Copy a formula by selecting a cell, then pressing Ctrl + C on your keyboard. Then, click in a new cell and press Ctrl + V. You’ll see that Excel copies the formula, but it points to new cells for the calculation.
Here’s something important: notice that Excel shifts the cells that you’re referencing in the formula. Instead of pointing to the same cells as your copied formula, it shifts the referenced cells too. Basically, shifting the formula down one cell also shifts the cells you’re pointing to.
Here’s another tip to help you copy and paste your formulas, without using the keyboard shortcut. Click on the lower-right corner of a cell, then drag down to extend the formula through a list.
That’s it! When you copy your formula in Excel, you shift the cell references too.
How to Move a Formula in Excel
Let’s say that you want to move your formula to another cell, but you don’t want to shift the calculation. That means that you want to show your formula output somewhere else, without changing the cell it references.
Remember: when you copy and paste a formula, it shifts the references by default. See the example below. As I move the formula, the calculation doesn’t work the same because we’re moving the references, too.
So, what do we do if we want to continue to reference the same cells? In this case, it’s important to cut and paste our formula. Use the Ctrl + X keyboard shortcut to cut the cell with the formula, then use Ctrl + V to paste it. When you use this approach, it moves the formula – but keeps the cell references the same. That means the formula will be exactly the same.