How to Copy a Formula in Excel with Changing Cell References

Do you need to copy a formula or function in Excel with or without changing cell references? There are lots of ideas and techniques to do it without encountering any hassle.

In this article, we will demonstrate how to copy a formula in Excel with changing cell referencesHere you’ll find a list of methods through which you’ll be able to copy any sort of formulas or functions with changing cell references.


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14 Easy Methods of Copying a Formula in Excel with Changing Cell References

Here, we will explain 14 suitable methods to copy a formula in Excel with changing cell references. If you’re not used to the term ‘Cell Reference’ then you can go here to grab some ideas. It’s not a major context at all but when you’ll have to copy a formula to use elsewhere in the spreadsheet you need to change the input data for another cell, right?

Basically, cell reference will do this trick automatically, and if you need to lock this cell reference so that you don’t want to change the input values by column or rows then you’ll find the process in this article too.


1. Dragging Fill Handle Icon to Copy a Formula with Changing Cell References

Suppose a company has decided to increase 10% salary of its five specific employees and here you’re seeing the chart with employees’ names along with their current salaries.

Now, you’ve to find out what will be their new salaries after a 10% increase.

Dragging Fill Handle Icon to Copy a Formula with Changing Cell References in Excel

Here, due to a 10% increase in the salary of each employee, you have to multiply each one’s current salary by 1.1 to find out the new salary.

  • To do this, firstly select cell D5.
  • Now tap ‘=’, then select the cell C5 and multiply with 1.1.

What you’ll be typing can be shown in the Formula Box which has been boxed with red at the top. 

  • Now, press ENTER key and you’ll see the new salary for Sam in the cell D5.

  • After that, to check the new salaries of all other employees, first of all, point your mouse cursor to the bottom right corner of cell D5. Here, you’ll notice a ‘+’ sign there. Which is called the Fill Handle icon.
  • Then, click it with your mouse, and without releasing the button drag it down to cell D9 and then release it there.

Use of Fill Handle Icon to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

Thus, you’ll get the amounts of new salaries of all employees. This method is called ‘Fill Down’ as you’re filling other cells by dragging with the reference of the 1st cell.

Read More: How to Copy a Formula Down the Column in Excel(7 Methods)


2. Double Clicking Fill Handle Icon to Copy a Formula with Changing Cell References

As well as you can evaluate the increased salaries of all employees by double-clicking the ‘+’ sign too.

  • Firstly, you have to do the calculation for the 1st cell (D5) only like before.
  • Secondly, double-click on the ‘+’ icon.

Double Clicking Fill Handle Icon to Copy a Formula with Changing Cell References in Excel

As a result, you will see all employees’ salaries at once.

Read More: How to Copy Formula in Excel (6 Quick Methods)


3. Creating an Excel Table to Copy a Formula

This is another very good option to copy a formula with changing cell references.

  • Firstly, select the whole section shown below.
  • Secondly, from the Insert tab >> choose the Table option.

Creating an Excel Table to Copy a Formula with changing cell references

Subsequently, a dialog box of Create Table will appear.

  • Next, select the data for your table. Which will be auto-selected.
  • Here, make sure that you mark the “My table has headers.
  • Then, press OK.

At this time, the table will appear with headers.

  • Now, go to the cell D5, put the ‘=’ symbol, select C5, and multiply it with 1.1 like before.

Calculation in Table to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

  • Lastly, press ENTER key and you will get the results as follows.


4. Copying Formula to Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel

For example, sometimes there can be gaps among the rows or even columns in a chart.

Now, if you use the ‘Fill Down’ method here D6 and D9 cells will show 0 as results or even can display error messages as no calculation will be executed there.

Copying Formula to Non-Adjacent Cells in Excel with changing cell references

  • Thus, in this case, you have to copy cell D5 first by right-clicking the mouse on it.

  • Then, you’ll enter CTRL and without releasing it, continue to select the D7, D8, D10, and D11 cells.

  • After that, right-click the mouse again and choose the 1st option of Paste Options.

As a result, you’ll get your desired results at the right places easily.


5. Using Single Formula for Multiple Columns at Once in Excel

Sometimes you have to perform column or row calculations with similar data but with different multipliers. Here, let’s find out what will be the salaries of the employees with both 10% and 20% increases.

So basically, you’re going to use one common formula, but you have to use it for two different columns. Actually, in row 11, there are two multipliers under the perspective columns to make calculations easier.

Using Single Formula for Multiple Columns at Once in Excel with changing cell references

  • Firstly, you’ll select the array D5:E9 with a mouse. Here, if you are using an older version of Excel than 2013 then press F2 to enable editing at D5. Furthermore, we used the Microsoft 365 version here.

  • Now, only type the formula to multiply cell C5 with D11 (1st multiplier) but don’t execute the function right now.

Actually, you have to lock column C as well as row 11 by using the Dollar ($) sign before them inside the Formula Box to ensure the proper calculations under mixed cell references. Here, we’ll guide you through this ‘Mixed Cell References’ a few methods later.

Now, you just have to keep in mind that you’re using this ‘$’ symbol to lock the multiplier row (11) for their respective columns, and in the same way, you’re locking Current Salary (Column C) to ensure the perspective calculations of increased salaries in two different cases for each employee. 

After you’re done with these processes.

  • Lastly, press the CTRL+ENTER keys instead of pressing only ENTER and you’ll be able to see all the new and increased salaries in both cases of all employees.

Read More: How to Copy a Formula across Multiple Rows in Excel (5 Ways)


6. Different Use of Fill Handle Icon to Copy a Formula with Changing Cell References

Let’s look at a Series now. Basically, it’s a series that’ll contain multipliers of 5. How will you get all the next values in the column with a single click?

Different Use of Fill Handle Icon to Copy a Formula with Changing Cell References

  • Firstly, select cells including B5 to B8, keep the mouse pointer to the right bottom corner of the B8 cell, and then Fill down the series.

As a result, you’ll get all the required values for the multipliers for 5. Basically, Excel is assigned to Fill Series as default.

Now, let’s check other Copy options. Here, if you choose Copy Cells, the 1st 4 cells you’ve selected before will be copied downward again and again. 

how to copy cells in excel with changing cell references with Fill Handle icon

And if you opt to choose Fill Formatting Only, here only the cell pattern or background will be copied, not the values.

Furthermore, if you select Fill Without Formatting, you’ll get the whole series, but the background of the cell patterns will not be copied here.

Last of all, this is probably the most interesting part. Suppose you want to get only first names from a list of full names.

  • Now, in the column of First Name, type it once for the 1st one only.
  • Then, drag the Fill Handle icon.

how to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references with Flash Fill

  • After that, select Flash Fill.

And all the first names will be displayed in the column right away.


7. Applying Different Paste Options to Copy Formula in Excel

Like Copy options, almost similar or more options you’ll find in Paste options too. Here, you can use the Paste options to copy a formula in Excel with changing cell references

  • If you want to copy column D to F, then select the column range you want to copy, and it includes formulas too. But you have to lock column C otherwise during pasting at column F, values from column C won’t appear here, rather the empty cells in column F will want to be multiplied with 1.1 and the error messages will be shown.

Applying Different Paste Options to Copy Formula in Excel with changing cell references

  • Now, right-click the mouse on cell F5 and you’ll find a variety of Paste options.

The 1st one will include the formulas you used for column D.

Furthermore, if you choose the Values (123) option then only values will be copied from column D, not formulas or functions.

And if you go for Paste Link, then the calculated values will be shown in column F, this option will actually copy both values and functions assigned for column D.

Moreover, there are some other Paste options that you can find through Paste Special tab.

Here, you can select a wide variety of options to paste the values or formulas or both depending upon your required criteria.

Paste special Option to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

Read More: How to Copy Formula and Paste as Text in Excel (2 Ways)


Similar Readings


8. Copying Function(s) from Formula Bar in Excel

You can even copy the formula from Formula Bar directly and use it in any cell you want.

  • Here, at first, calculate the total current salaries of 5 employees by using the SUM function.

Copying Function(s) from Formula Bar in Excel

  • Now, focus on the Formula Bar and Cut this formula instead of copying. Here, if you copy this formula you have to lock the cell reference to paste elsewhere.

  • After that, paste it on cell E7.

As a result, you’ll get the calculated value with the formula there.

But since you cut the formula so the value from the cell C11 will have vanished, and you’ll have to paste the same function again on the cell C11 and the calculated value will be back.

Read More: Copy Formula in Excel by Changing Only One Cell Reference


9. If You Don’t Want to Change Cell References to Copy a Formula in Excel

This is a tricky part, but you’ll find it interesting, I hope. Eventually, I’ve already given a bit of an idea on this topic when discussing the 5th method where you had to copy one single formula to use for two different columns.

Now, let’s take a look in detail now. Like before, you’ll have to find out the increased salaries both with 10% and 20% increments. 

  • Firstly, select Array D5:E9.
  • Secondly, multiply C5 with D11 in the D5 cell.

how to copy a formula in excel without changing cell references

  • Now, press the CTRL+ENTER keys.

Subsequently, you’ll see the calculation has been made only for Sam, but others have been denied. 

Here, the reason is you haven’t locked the cell references. So, how and when will you lock them?! 

Before knowing that, let’s have a glance at cell D6. Now, go to the Formula Bar and you’ll see the calculation has been executed based on the multiplication between Robert’s current salary(C6) and an empty cell (D12)!

Basically, this is why the result has been displayed as $0.

So, you’ve already got that here cell references are moving from cell to cell, and you have to lock these cell references now based on the required criteria.

  • Now, let’s select the whole array (D5:E9) again.
  • Then, go to the Formula Bar. Here, put a Dollar ($) sign before C, this will lock column C, and also put it again before 11, it’ll lock the 11th row containing the multipliers which you don’t want to circulate over the whole Excel sheet.
  • Subsequently, press CTRL+ENTER & you’ll have your expected calculations.

how to copy different formulas in excel with changing cell references

So, what’s happening here? 

As you’ve locked column C and row no. 11, now under column D, all employees’ salaries will be multiplied by 1.1 from D11 and similarly, under column E, salaries with 20% increments will be obtained for the multiplier 1.2 from E11.


10. Using Show Formulas Feature to Copy a Formula with Changing Cell References

To follow this method here, you have to calculate the increased salaries first by filling down the cells like before. 

  • Firstly, under the Formulas tab, click on Show Formulas. 

Use of Formula Bar to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

As a result, under column D, you’ll see the functions executed in each cell.

  • Now, copy these formulas using the CTRL+C keys.
  • Then, make a new chart under column F.
  • After that, Paste the formulas at F5 by selecting the Values(V) option.

So, you’ll get all the desired values at once.

If you opt to choose other Paste Options, then you will see the formulas under column F rather than the values as we kept on the Show Formulas button. Furthermore, you can paste these formulas anywhere in the Excel sheet to copy the calculated values.


11. Employing ‘Find & Replace’ Button to Copy a Formula in Excel

This is really a fruitful method, and you can find more fun here. Here, in column D initially, like the previous method, formulas are exposed. 

  • Firstly, select the column range D5:D9.
  • Secondly, from the Home tab >> go to Editing menu. 
  • Thirdly, we’re going to choose the Replace… option from the Find & Replace feature.

Using 'Find & Replace' Button to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

At this time, a new dialog box named Find and Replace will appear.

  • Next, you have to replace the ‘=’ symbol with ‘/’ or any other symbol which has not been used already in the spreadsheet.
  • Then, tap Replace All.

Subsequently, a new box of Microsoft Excel appears.

  • Now, press OK on it.

  • After that, click on Close to the Find and Replace dialog box.

Thus, in column D, the formulas will turn into text strings that you can copy anywhere you want.

  • Now, let’s go to column F and paste column D there first.

  • Then, select the whole column F, and open the Find & Replace tab again.

Again, the dialog box named Find and Replace will appear.

  • Similarly, reverse those symbols which you’ve used before for column D.

  • Then, choose the option Replace All again.

  • Now, press OK on the box of Microsoft Excel.

And you’ll have turned the text strings into number functions with this process.

  • Now, turn off the Show Formulas.

Finally, you will see the calculated values in column F.


12. Using CTRL+D & CTRL+R for Immediate Next Cell to Fill

You can use CTRL+D or CTRL+R for the immediate next cell to fill one by one.

  • After doing the initial calculation in D5, go to D6 and use CTRL+D for going downward calculation

Using Keyboard Shortcuts to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

  • Now, go to D8 and press CTRL+R to move to the right.

Basically, this method can be useful for a very small amount of data calculation.


13. Creating a Notepad and Paste Formula Column to Use Later

You can copy a formula with changing cell references using the Notepad. To do so, at first you have to expose the formulas again. Here, you can expose the formula using the Show Formulas feature as before. 

  • Now, copy the formulas from column D to a Notepad.

Use of Notepad to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

  • Then, paste the formulas from the Notepad in column F.

  • Turn off the Show Formulas tab and you’ll get the values again.

This method is quite effective when you have to keep track of the calculated data, but you cannot expose the formulas while copying those values to another column. So, you got how to copy a formula in Excel with changing cell references using Notepad.


14. Choosing ‘AutoSum’ or ‘SUBTOTAL’ Function

If you don’t want to type any function manually you can choose this AutoSum option under the Home tab where you’ll get your desired functions for basic and simple calculations. Basically, with the help of this AutoSum feature, you can find a summation, average, count, maximum value, minimum value, and so on.

  • To use the Sum feature from AutoSum, select any cell.
  • Then, go to the Home tab >> select Editing >> from AutoSum >> finally select Sum.

Use of AutoSum to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

Here, we did the summation for Column C with the help of the AutoSum feature.

The SUBTOTAL function is another similar function you can use to find out the results by going through various parameters from the list like 9 denotes the SUM function.

Use of SUBTOTAL function to copy a formula in excel with changing cell references

Also, we did the summation for Column C with the help of the SUBTOTAL function.


Conclusion

So, here we have described how to copy a formula in Excel with changing cell references. There are all the basic techniques you need to know and use in your daily Excel activities when you’re assigned to analyze tons of data. You’re welcome to let me know any kind of suggestion or opinion in the comment box. I’ll catch you up with your valuable words!


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Nehad Ulfat

Nehad Ulfat

Hello, Welcome to my profile. I'm a Technical Content Creator as well as a Naval Architect & Marine Engineer. I have preferences to do analytical reasoning & writing articles on various statistical data. Here, you'll find my published articles on Microsoft Excel & other topics related to my interests!

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