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: Adjusting Formulas when Pasting.

Adjusting Formulas when Pasting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 16, 2014)

The Paste Special feature of Excel never ceases to be full of surprises. One way you can use the feature results in pasting formulas into cells. That may sound weird, but perhaps an example will clarify the behavior.

  1. Open a brand new workbook.
  2. Put some values in a few contiguous cells, and some simple formulas in others. You can put just a few; you won't need many. (For this example, I'll assume you put the content into the range of B3:D5.)
  3. In a different cell, separated from the range you created in step 2, put a very simple formula, such as =1.1.
  4. Select the cell you created in step 3 and press Ctrl+C. This copies the cell contents to the Clipboard.
  5. Select the range you set up in step 2 (B3:D5).
  6. Choose Paste Special from the Edit menu. Excel displays the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  7. Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

  8. Make sure the Formulas radio button is selected.
  9. Make sure the Multiply radio button is selected.
  10. Click OK. The cells are updated.

Take a look at how the target cells were updated. The formula from the source cell (step 4) was pasted into any formulas in the target range. If a cell in the target range contained a value instead of a formula, the value was converted to a formula and the source formula appended to it.

This can be a great way to use Paste Special when you want to maintain a trail of how you've modified the cells in a range.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3328) 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: Adjusting Formulas when Pasting.

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

Find and Replace in a Column or Row

Need to search for information in a table? Word allows you to easily limit your search to an entire column or row, as ...

Discover More

Changing Cell Patterns

You can shade your cells by filling them with a pattern. Here's how to select the pattern you want used.

Discover More

Fonts Unavailable in Word

If you have some fonts that don't show up as available in Word, their exclusion can be confusing. Here's a discussion of ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Automatically Moving from Cell to Cell when Entering Data

As you enter data in a worksheet, you may want to have Excel automatically move from cell to cell based on the length of ...

Discover More

Creating Selections

Want a really easy way to create a selection of a group of cells? Discover how to use the Extend key to make this task ...

Discover More

Checking for an Entry in a Cell

You may be looking for a way to have a formula determine if a particular cell has anything in it. Here's how you can find ...

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 2 + 0?

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.