Making Multiple Worksheet Copies

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 8, 2018)

3

Jennifer frequently has to create copies of worksheets once she has the first worksheet of a workbook set up, and it's usually a good number of copies. For instance, it is not unusual for her to need to create 20 copies of a particular worksheet. She wonders if there is a way to easily make multiple copies. Right-clicking and using the move/copy feature gets rather tiresome after a while.

There is a way to use the move/copy option a bit more efficiently. Let's say, for instance, that you want to create 20 worksheets from your original one. You could follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your single worksheet is selected.
  2. Right-click the worksheet tab. Excel displays a Context menu.
  3. Choose Move or Copy from the Context menu. Excel displays the Move or Copy dialog box.
  4. Select the (move to end) option.
  5. Make sure the Create a Copy check box is selected.
  6. Click on OK. You now have two copies of your worksheet (the original and the copy you just made).
  7. Select both worksheets by clicking on the first worksheet tab and holding down the Shift key as you click on the last worksheet tab.
  8. Right-click the selected worksheet tabs. Excel displays a Context menu.
  9. Choose Move or Copy from the Context menu. Excel displays the Move or Copy dialog box.
  10. Select the (move to end) option.
  11. Make sure the Create a Copy check box is selected.
  12. Click on OK. You now have four copies of your worksheet.
  13. Select all the worksheets by clicking on the first worksheet tab and holding down the Shift key as you click on the last worksheet tab.
  14. Right-click the selected worksheet tabs. Excel displays a Context menu.
  15. Choose Move or Copy from the Context menu. Excel displays the Move or Copy dialog box.
  16. Select the (move to end) option.
  17. Make sure the Create a Copy check box is selected.
  18. Click on OK. You now have eight copies of your worksheet.
  19. Select all the worksheets by clicking on the first worksheet tab and holding down the Shift key as you click on the last worksheet tab.
  20. Right-click the selected worksheet tabs. Excel displays a Context menu.
  21. Choose Move or Copy from the Context menu. Excel displays the Move or Copy dialog box.
  22. Select the (move to end) option.
  23. Make sure the Create a Copy check box is selected.
  24. Click on OK. You now have 16 copies of your worksheet.
  25. Select four of your worksheets by clicking on the first worksheet tab and holding down the Shift key as you click on the fourth worksheet tab.
  26. Right-click the selected worksheet tabs. Excel displays a Context menu.
  27. Choose Move or Copy from the Context menu. Excel displays the Move or Copy dialog box.
  28. Select the (move to end) option.
  29. Make sure the Create a Copy check box is selected.
  30. Click on OK. You now have 20 copies of your worksheet.

That may seem like a lot of steps, but it isn't really—all you've done is to use the move/copy feature five times instead of 20 times to get to the desired number of worksheets. There is one caveat to this approach, though—if the worksheet you are copying has any defined tables in it, then you won't be able to get past step 8. When you try step 9, you'll get a message saying that you cannot copy or move a group of worksheets when any of them contain tables. (You can copy or move a single worksheet containing a table, just not a group of them.)

There is another shortcut you can use, and it doesn't involve using the Move or Copy dialog box. All you need to do is to select the worksheet you want to copy and drag the worksheet name (on the worksheet tab) to the right. You'll see a small "document" icon appear next to the mouse pointer. Press the Ctrl key at this point, and a plus sign appears inside the icon. When you release the mouse button, then the worksheet is copied. You can also copy groups of worksheets in this manner unless, again, there are any defined tables in the worksheets in the group.

Another option to copying your worksheet is to do the following:

  1. Create your "master" worksheet, as desired.
  2. Add enough blank worksheets so you have one for each copy you want to make. (A good way to add blank worksheets is to press Shift+F11.)
  3. Select the master worksheet.
  4. Press Ctrl+A. Excel selects everything in the master worksheet.
  5. Press Ctrl+C. Everything is now copied to the Clipboard.
  6. Click on the worksheet tab for the first blank worksheet you created.
  7. Hold down the Shift key as you click on the worksheet tab for the last blank worksheet you created.
  8. Press Ctrl+V. The contents of the Clipboard are pasted into each of the worksheets you selected.

This copies everything from the master worksheet, but it doesn't copy some things like column widths, row heights, or print layout settings. You can perform some additional steps to copy some of these, but it is difficult to copy them all.

For sheer speed and convenience, though, using a macro to create the copies is (in my view) the easiest. Here's a very simple macro that will make copies of the selected worksheet until such point as there are a total of 20 worksheets in the workbook:

Sub SimpleCopy1()
    Do While Sheets.Count < 20
        ActiveSheet.Copy After:=Sheets(Sheets.Count)
    Loop
End Sub

If your workbook has additional worksheets in it already (besides the one you want to copy), then you would benefit by using this version:

Sub SimpleCopy2()
    Dim J As Integer

    For J = 1 To 20
        ActiveSheet.Copy After:=Sheets(Sheets.Count)
    Next J
End Sub

You can make your macro a bit more general purpose by having it ask the user how many copies should be made:

Sub SimpleCopy2()
    Dim J As Integer
    Dim iWanted As Integer

    On Error GoTo Done
    iWanted = Cint(InputBox("Number of copies?"))

    If iWanted >0 And iWanted < 201 Then
        For J = 1 To iWanted
            ActiveSheet.Copy After:=Sheets(Sheets.Count)
        Next J
    End If
Done:
    On Error GoTo 0
End Sub

This macro also limits the number of worksheet copies made to between 1 and 200. (Outside of that range, it will do nothing.) The error handling is added in case your workbook already has a large number of worksheets and adding additional ones exceeds the number of worksheets it is permissible to have in a workbook.

Regardless of which macro approach you choose, it is a good idea to add it to your Quick Access Toolbar or assign a shortcut key to it. That way you can copy your worksheets very quickly.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1600) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing Comments

Comments can be a boon when you want to annotate your worksheets. If you want, you can instruct Excel to print the ...

Discover More

Counting with PivotTables

One of the ways you can use PivotTables is to generate counts of various items in a data table. This is a great technique ...

Discover More

Static Sizes for Comment Boxes

Adding comments to your worksheet can be helpful in documenting what the worksheet contains. If you want to make sure ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Determining a Worksheet's Number

When you add a new worksheet to a workbook, it receives a meaningful name such as "Sheet4" or "Sheet17." If you want to ...

Discover More

Copying a Worksheet

Need to make a copy of one of your worksheets? Excel provides a few different ways you can accomplish the task.

Discover More

Jumping to a Specific Worksheet

Want to make fast work of moving from one worksheet to another? Here's how to do the task when you have a lot of ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 + 2?

2018-09-10 09:55:42

David R

The CTRL and drag method is my timesaving tip of the day, nice one!


2018-09-09 23:10:14

Alex B

Using the copy method, as long as you use Ctrl+A or click in the top left box to select the entire spreadsheet, the column widths & row heights seem to copy across fine.
Macro option - If you are doing a lot of this hopefully there is commonality in the process so that you can tailor your copy macro to add an appropriate sheet name and heading to each of the copied sheet.


2018-09-09 14:52:01

Dave K

If you save the macro to the PERSONAL.XLSB workbook, you will be able to run it against any open workbook. Otherwise you will be restricted to one in which it was saved.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.