Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Exact Formula Copies.

Exact Formula Copies

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 16, 2018)

3

Many formulas in a worksheet don't occur in solitude—they often appear numerous times in a worksheet. For instance, you may copy a formula into a range of cells in a column, each formula operating on data on its own row.

When you copy formulas, Excel automatically adjusts any relative cell references in the formula so that they remain relative in the target cell. For instance, if a formula in cell C4 is =A4+B4, then copying the formula down to cell C5 results in the formula =A5+B5.

There may be times when you want to create an exact copy of a formula, without Excel adjusting the relative cell references during the copy process. Assuming you want to make an exact copy of the formula in cell C4 and copy it to C5, follow these steps:

  1. Select cell C4.
  2. Press F2. Excel enters Edit mode, with the insertion point at the end of the formula.
  3. Press Shift+Ctrl+Home. Excel selects everything in the cell, back to the beginning of the formula.
  4. Press Ctrl+C to copy the selected text (the formula's text) to the Clipboard.
  5. Press Enter to move to cell C5.
  6. Press Ctrl+V to paste the Clipboard contents into the cell.

During this paste process, the relative cell references are not updated—the formula in cell C5 is now an exact duplicate of the one in cell C4.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6159) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Exact Formula Copies.

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. ...

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What is 8 - 1?

2018-05-19 06:27:59

Willy Vanhaelen

If you have to do this very often this macro can be helpfull:

Sub CopyExact()
If TypeName(Selection) <> "Range" Then Exit Sub
Dim X
Set X = New DataObject
X.SetText ActiveCell.Formula
X.PutInClipboard
End Sub

You can assign a shortcut to this macro or create a button on the QAT.
All you have to do is move the cell pointer to the cell whose formula you want to copy and run the macro. The formula text is now on the clipboard and you can paste it anywhere as a clone of the formula, preserving the original cell-references.


2018-05-18 18:19:42

Ruthie A. Ward

I suppose once you get the rhythym of the keystrokes, it might be faster to use the above method. I'll have to try it when I want to copy the entire formula in a cell without Excel automatically changing the references. Thanks!


2018-05-16 10:29:43

Cam Peneff

Mich easier to just copy and paste the cell. Rather than using the full handle.


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