How to Copy a Formula in Excel: A Beginner's Guide

Excel can be a lifesaver when it comes to organizing data, making calculations, and analyzing information. But, it can feel overwhelming for beginners who are getting started on this software. Nevertheless, it's nothing you can’t handle with a little instruction and practice. Therefore, in this article, we will be talking about one of the most valuable Excel skills, copying formulas.

The Basics of Formulas in Excel

Formulas are one of the most critical parts of using Excel. They help you to calculate values, obtain results, and perform different operations on your data set. There are many formulas you can use in Excel, such as adding, subtracting, finding averages and percentages. But how do you copy a formula that you’ve created?

Step-by-Step Guide on Copying Formulas in Excel

To copy a formula in Excel, you’ll need to follow these four easy and straightforward steps:

Step 1: Select the Cell Containing the Formula

The first step in copying a formula is to select the cell containing the formula that you want to copy. You can do this by clicking on the cell directly or by using the mouse to highlight the cell.

Step 2: Move the Mouse Over the Right Bottom Corner of the Cell

The next step to copying the formula is to hover your mouse over the right bottom corner of the cell. You’ll notice that the cursor turns into a small crosshair shape.

Step 3: Click and Drag the Formula to the Desired Cells

The third step is to click and drag the formula to the desired cells. Use the right cell button on your mouse and hold it down to drag the crosshair over the cells you want to copy the formula into. Note that by default, Excel will adjust the formula to make sure it works accurately with the new cells.

Step 4: Release the Mouse and Drop the Formula into the New Cells

Finally, release the mouse button once you’ve selected all the cells you want to copy the formula to, and voila! Your formula will automatically be copied to all the cells you have selected.

Tips and Tricks for Copying Formulas in Excel

Copying formulas in Excel can be tricky for new beginners, but there are a few tips and tricks that will make it simpler:

  • Try using keyboard shortcuts. If you’re working with a large dataset, you might find that using keyboard shortcuts (such as Ctrl + D) can save you time and effort.
  • Be careful with relative and absolute references. Excel formulas can refer to other cells in ways that are called "relative" reference and "absolute" reference. Be careful when copying formulas to ensure that your references are correct in each new cell.
  • Use copy formula with a smart motive. Copying formulas is a fantastic tool to use within Excel. However, try not to copy them without a clear objective. You might end up with a lot of data you don't need.

The Benefits of Copying Formulas in Excel

Copying formulas in Excel is incredibly useful and can save you time and effort. Tasks that would take hours to complete manually can be done in seconds with an accurately copied formula. That's why it's essential to know how to use this valuable tool and to master the art of copying formulas. Whether you’re working on a business project or a personal task, mastering this critical Excel skill will help your work become more efficient, understandable, and dependable.


Excel is a fantastic tool that can transform your work tasks and personal life. However, to use it effectively, you must understand how to use it well. Copying formulas is one of the critical skills that all Excel users must have. Hopefully, this article has given you the tips and tools you need to create accurate formulas and save time.

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