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: Retaining Formatting After a Paste Multiply.

Retaining Formatting After a Paste Multiply

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 8, 2015)

One of the really cool features of Excel is the many ways you can manipulate data using the Paste Special command. This command allows you to do all sorts of things to you data, as you paste it into a worksheet. One such manipulation you can perform is to multiply data as you paste. For instance, you can multiply all the values being pasted by -1, thereby converting them into negative numbers. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Place the value -1 in an unused cell of your worksheet.
  2. Select the value and press Ctrl+C. Excel copies the value (-1) to the Clipboard.
  3. Select the range of cells that you want to multiply by -1.
  4. Choose Paste Special from the Edit menu. Excel displays the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

  6. Click on the Multiply radio button.
  7. Click on OK.

At this point Excel multiplies the values in the selected cells by the value in the Clipboard. Unfortunately, if the cells in the selected range had special formatting, the formatting is also now gone, and the format of the cells is set to be the same as the cell you selected in step 2.

To make sure that the formatting of the target cells is not changed while doing the Paste Special, there is one other option you need to select in the Paste Special dialog box—Values. In other words, you would still select Multiply (as in step 5), but you would also select Values before clicking on OK.

With the Values radio button selected, Excel only operates on the values in the cells, and leaves the formatting of the target range unchanged.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2655) 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: Retaining Formatting After a Paste Multiply.

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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