Copying a Formula from a Cell While Keeping the Absolute Reference or Relative Reference

In this article, we will learn Copying a Formula from a Cell While Keeping the Absolute Reference or Relative Reference.

Types of copy and paste methods in Excel ?

In Excel, when you use copy and Paste on any cell. You can do this in many different ways. Like you can just copy the value, formula, format, comments, validation or all at once. But there is one problem with absolute or relative references. When you copy and paste formulas with references, you need to be careful.

Copy and paste with references

Here we have a list of numbers and we need to sum 1 to all the numbers. So I used the formula as shown below.

Now what do think what happens when i copy the formula and paste to all the other cells.

As you can see it's not right, as the relative reference gets extended as well. Let's understand this with an example below.

Example :

All of these might be confusing to understand. Let's understand how to use the function using an example. Here we will find the sum of the corresponding values.

Use the formula

=SUM(D$3,$C4)

Here we need to fix the D3 cell when copying and pasting the formula along the D column and fix the C4 cell when copying and pasting the formula along the row.

As you can see the formula works fine when pasting formulas along the column. Now paste formula along the row to understand its feature.

As you can see, the formula works fine for both rows and columns. You can also copy (ctrl + C) and paste (Ctrl + V) to use the same feature.

Here are all the observational notes using the method in Excel
Notes :

  1. Use Ctrl + D or drag down option to copy and paste the formula from top most cell to all the selected cells below
  2. Use Ctrl + R or the drag right option to copy and paste the formula from the left most cell to all the selected cells on the right.
  3. Or use the paste special method to learn more about copying and pasting values in Excel

Hope this article aboutCopying a Formula from a Cell While Keeping the Absolute Reference or Relative Reference is explanatory. Find more articles on copy and paste values and related Excel shortcut here. If you liked our blogs, share it with your friends on Facebook. And also you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We would love to hear from you, do let us know how we can improve, complement or innovate our work and make it better for you. Write to us at info@exceltip.com.

Related Articles:

How to use the Shortcut To Toggle Between Absolute and Relative References in Excel : F4 shortcut to convert absolute to relative reference and same shortcut use for vice versa in Excel.

How to use Shortcut Keys for Merge and Center in Excel : Use Alt and then follow h, m and c to Merge and centre cells in Excel.

How to Select Entire Column and Row Using Keyboard Shortcuts in Excel : Use Ctrl + Space to select whole column and  Shift + Space to select whole row using keyboard shortcut in Excel

Paste Special Shortcut in Mac and Windows : In windows, the keyboard shortcut for paste special is Ctrl + Alt + V. Whereas in Mac, use Ctrl + COMMAND + V key combination to open the paste special dialog in Excel.

How to Insert Row Shortcut in Excel : Use Ctrl + Shift + = to open the Insert dialog box where you can insert row, column or cells in Excel.

50 Excel Shortcuts to Increase Your Productivity : Get faster at your tasks in Excel. These shortcuts will help you increase your work efficiency in Excel.

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Users are saying about us...

  1. Quite elegant a solution; only suggest using "~" instead of "#" as temporary replacement for the "=" sign. "#" is part of error 'variables', while "~" is seldom used for anything.

  2. wondering what the "~" is actually used for, it does not work for me in the find and replace scenario. ie My excel does not find the character "~".

  3. In excel the ~ is used by the replace and find functions as a prefix to the wildcards "?" and "*", so in order to find "~" you must enter the tilde twice. i.e. to find "~" type in "~~"

  4. However, for individual cells, I prefer selecting the formula and using Ctrl-C, escaping, then selecting the target cell and using Ctrl-V.

  5. I use two $ signs (as in $$) rather than tildes or anything else. Hasn't caused trouble yet. Ctrl H is also good for changing particular elements of a formula, especially when you're wanting to make changes in many formulae in multiple tabs (I have an application with 21 tabs, & the replace function is essential!!).

  6. I insert an apostrophe in front of the equal sign to change the formula to a literal. I then copy the cell contents and remove the apostrophe.

  7. Copy the formulas to the same place in a different sheet. Move them in the new sheet to the desired location, then copy them back to this new location in the original sheet.

  8. "Copying the formula itself is easier
    by..
    1. F2
    2. Shift+Home -- to select all formula
    3. Ctrl + C -- copy
    then Ctrl + V -- paste to relevant place"

  9. "Does anyone know how to insert a formula alone to existing filled in cells without deleting existing data?
    Example: If a there are 50 rows of data, say values in Kilo Bytes, now i want to convert it to MB by dividing the KB data by 1024. So I got to insert =/1024 to the existing data.

    In KB
    ---------
    893
    10345
    67899

    To Convert to MB, here's what I should have:
    =893/1024
    =10345/1024
    =67899/1024

    Is there an easy way to do it instead having to edit the numbers and insert formula in each cell? "

  10. I need a formula to take a total of numbers and make a percentage out of the for example: If you sold $5,000.00 in sales what would be the percentage of that or at the end of the month what would be you sales percentage

  11. "Sorry, but I cannot make out what it is that you are asking for.

    Please can you give a few numbers as an example, and the result that you would want calculated. "

  12. Quite elegant a solution; only suggest using "~" instead of "#" as temporary replacement for the "=" sign. "#" is part of error 'variables', while "~" is seldom used for anything.

  13. wondering what the "~" is actually used for, it does not work for me in the find and replace scenario. ie My excel does not find the character "~".

  14. In excel the ~ is used by the replace and find functions as a prefix to the wildcards "?" and "*", so in order to find "~" you must enter the tilde twice. i.e. to find "~" type in "~~"

  15. However, for individual cells, I prefer selecting the formula and using Ctrl-C, escaping, then selecting the target cell and using Ctrl-V.

  16. I use two $ signs (as in $$) rather than tildes or anything else. Hasn't caused trouble yet. Ctrl H is also good for changing particular elements of a formula, especially when you're wanting to make changes in many formulae in multiple tabs (I have an application with 21 tabs, & the replace function is essential!!).

  17. I insert an apostrophe in front of the equal sign to change the formula to a literal. I then copy the cell contents and remove the apostrophe.

  18. Copy the formulas to the same place in a different sheet. Move them in the new sheet to the desired location, then copy them back to this new location in the original sheet.

  19. "Copying the formula itself is easier
    by..
    1. F2
    2. Shift+Home -- to select all formula
    3. Ctrl + C -- copy
    then Ctrl + V -- paste to relevant place"

  20. "Does anyone know how to insert a formula alone to existing filled in cells without deleting existing data?
    Example: If a there are 50 rows of data, say values in Kilo Bytes, now i want to convert it to MB by dividing the KB data by 1024. So I got to insert =/1024 to the existing data.

    In KB
    ---------
    893
    10345
    67899

    To Convert to MB, here's what I should have:
    =893/1024
    =10345/1024
    =67899/1024

    Is there an easy way to do it instead having to edit the numbers and insert formula in each cell? "

  21. I need a formula to take a total of numbers and make a percentage out of the for example: If you sold $5,000.00 in sales what would be the percentage of that or at the end of the month what would be you sales percentage

  22. "Hi Bobbie,

    Sorry, but I cannot make out what it is that you are asking for.

    Please can you give a few numbers as an example, and the result that you would want calculated.

    Thanks,

    Alan."

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