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: Exact Formula Copies.

Exact Formula Copies

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 23, 2017)

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 (2990) 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: 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Finding an Unknown Character

Sometimes the characters that appear in a document can be hard to figure out, especially if the document came from ...

Discover More

Quickly Selecting Text

Want a really quick way to select text? Just combine the Shift key with a simple mouse click.

Discover More

Transposing and Linking

Sometimes it is helpful to look at data that is rotated 90 degrees. Excel allows you to use Paste Special to transpose ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Quickly Entering Data

Excel includes a handy shortcut for entering data that is similar to whatever you entered in the cell above your entry ...

Discover More

Entering Info into Multiple Cells

Want to make an entry of the same value into a group of selected cells? It's easy to do with just one small change in how ...

Discover More

Inserting and Copying Rows

Want an easy way to insert a new row in a worksheet and copy everything from the row above? (You end up with two ...

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 8 + 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon 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.