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

Setting a Length Limit on Cells

Limiting what can be entered in a cell can be an important part of developing a worksheet that other people use. Here are ...

Discover More

Using More CPU Power when Calculating

Today's PCs are more powerful than ever, but you can still have slowdowns when it comes to calculating large workbooks. ...

Discover More

Copying a Slide

Need to copy an existing slide from one place to another? Presentation makes it easy to do using editing techniques you ...

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)

Canceling an Edit

When editing a cell, you may want to cancel the edit at some point. There are two ways to do this, both described in this ...

Discover More

Finding Unknown Links

There are several things to try when finding unknown links in Excel.

Discover More

Fixing the Decimal Point

Don't want to always type the decimal point as you enter information in a worksheet? If you are entering information that ...

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 5 + 3?

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.