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Transposing and Linking

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Transposing and Linking.

Excel offers many different ways to paste information that you have copied. You can see these different methods when you choose the Paste Special option from the Edit menu. Two of the most popular pasting methods are transposing and linking.

  • Transpose. This turns the orientation of your copied data ninety degrees. If you had previously copied five cells from a column, they are pasted as five cells in a row.
  • Linking. You do this by choosing Paste Link from the Paste Special dialog box. It causes Excel to paste references to the original data instead of copied values. When you change the original data, the information is automatically changed in the place where you did the Paste Link.

Unfortunately, it seems that these two options are mutually exclusive. If you select the Transpose option, the Paste Link button is grayed out so you can no longer select it.

There are two ways you can get around this. One involves modifying the pasting process, and the other involves the use of a formula. The first method is as follows:

  1. Copy the data you want to transpose and link, as you normally would.
  2. Select any cell in an unused worksheet.
  3. Choose Paste Special from the Edit menu. This displays the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

  5. Click on the Paste Link button. Your information is pasted, as a link, in the worksheet. Make sure it remains selected.
  6. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Replace dialog box.

  8. In the Find What area, type an equal sign.
  9. In the Replace With area, type a pound sign followed by an equal sign.
  10. Click on Replace All. All the information you just pasted is essentially converted from formulas into text. Make sure it remains selected.
  11. Press Ctrl+C to copy the range to the Clipboard.
  12. Select the cell where you want the final transposed and linked range to reside.
  13. Choose Paste Special from the Edit menu. This displays the Paste Special dialog box.
  14. Choose the Transpose check box.
  15. Click on OK. The information is pasted, but it is transposed into the final location. Make sure it remains selected.
  16. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace dialog box.
  17. In the Find What area, type a pound sign followed by an equal sign.
  18. In the Replace With area, type an equal sign.
  19. Click on Replace All. All the information you just pasted is converted back to formulas.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but it is not that bad in reality. Also, if you find yourself doing this procedure a lot, you can create a macro that does it for you.

If you would rather use the formula process, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the range of cells you want to link and transpose have been given a name. For this example, let's say you named it MyRange.
  2. Count the number of rows and columns in the range.
  3. Starting at the cell where you want the information to end up, select a range that has the opposite number of rows and columns. Thus, if the original range had 3 columns and 2 rows, the target range would have 2 columns and 3 rows.
  4. Type this formula: =TRANSPOSE([Book1]Sheet1!MyRange). You should substitute different workbook, sheet, and range names, as necessary.
  5. Press Shift+Ctrl+Enter.

At this point your information, linked from the original, appears in the selected range.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2652) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Transposing and Linking.

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Comments for this tip:

JJ    01 Sep 2014, 10:59
Unspeakably GOOD!
sunny lakhotra    29 Aug 2014, 02:36
awesome
very helpful
samer     22 Jul 2014, 17:21
This is just one of the Absolutely Most Wicked Awesome Tip Evers.... Cheers and Much Hugs and Respect.
Dermot    26 Jun 2014, 11:24
What a smart tip. You have saved he hours of work. Thank you so much
NIRAJ    15 Jun 2014, 14:20
Nice tip. Excellent job
lenogooch    19 Apr 2014, 02:30
Fantastic. So simple. Thank you for sharing
Moe    18 Apr 2014, 08:42
Thank you for the tip. Great.
Steph    08 Apr 2014, 08:49
ah.. genius thank you. Nice trick to remember £= and = ... who knew.
Mike    24 Mar 2014, 19:17
Brilliant tip, thank you.
BKelly    20 Mar 2014, 15:49
Thank you so much! This saved me some time. I used that =Transpose() array formula before, but it would not let me turn the transposed data into a table object. I thought I needed to write a macro, but with your copy/paste solution, I can now link my data and use a table object.
G3X    20 Nov 2013, 14:42
Fantastic solution! Thank you for sharing!
Jo Foster    14 Nov 2013, 05:19
This is fantastic, so easy to follow and is going to save me so much time. THANK YOU
from Mada    07 Nov 2013, 05:49
thank you very much. very clever. from Madagascar
Tony    06 Nov 2013, 10:22
This is so elegant - thank you! The trick of converting formulae to text and back I can imagine has other uses too.
rodeyns Nicolai    01 Nov 2013, 05:36
GREAT JOB. You are an angel now with a transpose PhD! I can't believe it works!!! and this after 10 years suffering, time wasting and frustrations!
The next step is you to sell the Microsoft gang your build in macro solution! Call it Quickstep transpose TP F1-MAX.

Go for it, a fortune is waiting.
Earle Wallbank    18 Oct 2013, 07:27
Simple = Best!
Thanks for this tip (I'm now using the manual method).
ech0    27 Aug 2013, 07:23
Thanks SO much - this helped me create dynamic forms containing calculated totals from multiple sheets. I appreciate your efforts :)
raza    20 Jul 2013, 05:37
great tip... worked for me and saved me huge amount of time.
thank you
Mac Benoy    15 Jun 2013, 02:51
Brilliant! I have used (and taught at uni) Excel for 22 years and learnt 2 new procedures - the TRANSPOSE command and ctrl-shift-enter for mass entry of formulae. THANKS
Itok    27 May 2013, 23:14
Many thanks for this great tips.....
it works for me :D
Greeting from Indonesia

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