**Please Note: **
This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), *this tip may not work for you*. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Saving Common Formulas.

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 24, 2024)**This tip applies to** Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365

Sometimes, creating just the formula you want can be a victory all in itself. Once created, formulas become valuable, and you may need to use them over and over again in different worksheets you use. Wouldn't it be great to have a way to paste commonly used formulas in a workbook, the same way you can paste clip art or other common objects?

Unfortunately, such a capability is not resident within Excel. There are a couple of things you can do to make your formulas more accessible, however. One thing you can do is keep a text document (a Notepad document) on your desktop and store your commonly used formulas in it. With Excel open, you can open the text document, copy the desired formula to the Clipboard, and quickly paste it in the desired cell of the workbook.

Another possible solution is to assign names to your formulas.

- Enter your formula as you normally would.
- Select the cell containing the formula and press
**F2**. This places Excel in edit mode. - Hold down the
**Shift**key as you use the cursor control keys to select the entire formula, including the equal sign at its very beginning. - Press
**Ctrl+C**. The formula is now on the Clipboard. - Press
**Esc**. You should now be out of edit mode, and the cell with the formula is still selected. - Make sure the Formulas tab of the ribbon is selected.
- In the Defined Names area, click the Define Name option. Excel displays the New Name dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
- In the Name box, enter the name you want assigned to this formula.
- Select whatever is in the Refers To box, at the bottom of the dialog box, and press
**Ctrl+V**. The cell reference is replaced with the formula that was copied to the Clipboard in step 4. - Make sure there are no dollar signs in the formula. If there are, select them and delete them. (This method of using formulas does not work well with absolute references.)
- Click OK.

** Figure 1.** The New Name dialog box.

Now, whenever you want to use the formula, you simply enter an equal sign and the name you gave to the formula in step 8. Even though the name shows in the cell, the formula assigned to the name is actually used in doing the calculation. Since the formula used relative references (you got rid of the dollar signs), it is always relative to where you use the name in the worksheet.

Another approach works great if you are comfortable with macros and with the VB Editor. This approach involves making your common formulas part of your Personal macro workbook. This workbook is opened whenever you start Excel and is designed primarily for macros and customizations that you want available whenever you use Excel. But there is no reason it cannot be used for common formulas, as well.

Assuming you haven't yet created a Personal macro workbook, follow these steps:

- Start Excel with a new workbook.
- Display the View tab of the ribbon.
- Click the down-arrow under the Macros tool and then click Record Macro. Excel displays the Record Macro dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
- Using the Store Macro In drop-down list, choose Personal Macro Workbook.
- Click OK. The Macro Recorder is now running.
- Select any cell in the worksheet. (It doesn't matter which one you choose.)
- Click Stop Recording on the ribbon's Developer tab.

** Figure 2.** The Record Macro dialog box.

The macro you recorded is now stored in your newly created Personal macro workbook. To see the code that you created, open the VB Editor (**Alt+F11**). In the upper-left corner of the editor is the Project Explorer; it lists all the various pieces and parts accessible through the editor. One of the items in the Project Explorer should be PERSONAL.XLSB. If you expand this object (click the small plus sign to the left of the project name), you should see a Modules folder. Expand the Modules folder, and it contains Module1. If you double-click on this module you see the macro you just recorded; it looks something like this:

Sub Macro1() ' Macro1 Macro ' ' Range("A4").Select End Sub

You can now select this code and delete it, since you don't need it anymore. You can then place other macros or user-defined functions in the module so they will be available.

What about formulas? Copy them to the Clipboard and paste them in the module, outside of any procedures defined therein. All you need to do is make sure you preface the formula with an apostrophe, so that the VB Editor thinks you are entering a comment. When you need the formulas at a later time, just go to the VB Editor, open the module, copy the formula, and paste it into the workbook where you need it.

Finally, you could also place your common formulas into AutoCorrect entries. Follow these steps:

- Enter your formula as you normally would.
- Select the cell containing the formula and press
**F2**. This places Excel in edit mode. - Hold down the
**Shift**key as you use the cursor control keys to select the entire formula, including the equal sign at its very beginning. - Press
**Ctrl+C**. The formula is now on the Clipboard. - Press
**Esc**. You should now be out of edit mode, and the cell with the formula is still selected. - Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
- At the left side of the screen click Proofing.
- Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Excel displays the AutoCorrect dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
- In the Replace box enter a name you want associated with your formula.
- Position the insertion point in the With box.
- Press
**Ctrl+V**to paste the formula you copied in step 4. - Click Add. The formula is now safely stored in an AutoCorrect entry.
- Close all the dialog boxes on the screen.

** Figure 3.** The AutoCorrect dialog box.

You can now use your formula as you would any other AutoCorrect entry. Just type whatever you used in step 9 and then press **Enter**. The name is replaced with the full formula.

*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.

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This tip (6135) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: **Saving Common Formulas**.

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2024-09-25 04:20:54

Philip

=SWITCH(LEN(B2);

6;"00"& B2;

10;"00"& B2;

11;"0"& B2;

7;"0"& B2;

8;B2;

12;B2;"")

The advantage being that you don't need to worry about parenthesis count when nesting conditions, and also it offers a default value if none of the conditions are met (in this case "").

Note: SWITCH only is available for Excel 2019 and up (including 365 and Web)

2024-09-24 09:27:10

Mike J

2024-09-24 05:19:41

Philip

2020-03-11 13:19:31

JDR

2019-11-22 13:41:36

Veronica Lee

=IF(OR(LEN(B2)=6,LEN(B2)=10),"00"&B2,

IF(OR(LEN(B2)=11,LEN(B2)=7),"0"&B2,

IF(OR(LEN(B2)=8,LEN(B2)=12),B2,"")))

Thank you!

<3

2019-10-06 21:29:27

Col Delane

So, create a Personal Macro Workbook as described. Note that the PMW is nothing more than a bog-standard Excel workbook, but with a magical power to enable macros stored therein to be made available to all open workbooks. But it is still a simple workbook that will operate just like every other Excel workbook, with as many sheets as you want, etc.

Insert a sheet and name it "Formulas" or whatever name you want.

Now use this sheet as a warehouse in which to save all your sample formulas, employing some cataloguing concepts to include some structure, labels, tags, etc. so that you can easily find the formula you want at a later time. Even use different sheets if you like for different types of formulas, or for any other Excel thing you want to keep handy. (My PMW is my always-at-hand Excel toolbox, full of samples covering Data Validation, Conditional Formatting, Defined Names, templates, macros, dates, etc. ) Just simple thinking, really!

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.

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