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Apply Excel Formula to Entire Column without Dragging (3 Simple Methods)

October 19, 2023 3.8K views

Dealing with data in Excel often involves applying formulas to entire columns, a process that can be time-consuming. In this article, we'll share three simple methods to apply formulas to entire columns without manual dragging. Whether you are a beginner or an Excel pro, these techniques will streamline your data handling.

3 Methods to Apply Excel Formula to Entire Column without Dragging

When it comes to Excel, applying a formula to an entire column without dragging can save you time and effort. There are three simple methods you can use to achieve this:

1. Double-Clicking

Applying a formula to a whole column becomes incredibly simple with this easy mouse double-click method.

Suppose you have a data set where you want to calculate the percentage of 10 students' results. Instead of dragging the formula down, you can use the double-click method:

Applying Excel Formula without Dragging Column

In the "Percentage Formula" column (Column C), the formula divides the respective Column B score by 100 to get the percentage. For example, in cell C2, the formula is =B2/100. This formula calculates the percentage for John's score of 85.

 Applying Percentage Formula in Excel

Applying Percentage Formula in Excel

To apply the percentage formula to the entire "Percentage Formula" column using the double-click method:

Step 1: Select cell C2; move your cursor to the small square in the bottom-right corner of cell C2.

Alt tag: Applying Excel Formula without Dragging Column

Step 2: Double-click with your mouse. Excel automatically applies the formula to the "Percentage Formula" column, populating cells C3 to C11 with the calculated percentages.

Applying Excel Formula without Dragging Column

Applying Excel Formula without Dragging Column

2. Keyboard Shortcut — CTRL+D

For those who find keyboard shortcuts more convenient, you have an alternative method to accomplish the fill-down action:

By pressing CONTROL + D (hold the control key and then press the D key), you can achieve the same fill-down functionality as using the mouse.

Here's a quick guide on how to use this keyboard shortcut for filling down a formula:

Step 1: Enter the formula "=B2*C2 in the cell D2 to calculate the total amount for commodity A.

Step 2: Select all the cells where you wish to apply this formula, including cell D2. Suppose you want to copy the formula down till Cell D6. Press “Shift + Down Arrow” till all cells till cell D6 are highlighted.

 Using Keyboard Shortcut to Apply Formula in Excel

Using Keyboard Shortcut to Apply Formula in Excel

Step 3: Hold down the Control key and press the D key simultaneously.

 Using Keyboard Shortcut to Apply Formula in Excel

Using Keyboard Shortcut to Apply Formula in Excel

This keyboard shortcut streamlines the process of extending your formula to multiple cells, offering a practical and efficient alternative to the manual approach. It comes in handy when you don't want to use trackpad or minus and are comfortable using keys and commands

3. Fill Down Option

An additional approach for applying a formula across a whole column involves using the "Fill Down" feature accessible in the ribbon menu.

Here's how to utilise this method:

Step 1: Enter your formula (e.g., "=B2/100") in the initial cell, like C2.

Using Fill Down Otion to Apply Formula on Whole Column

Using Fill Down Otion to Apply Formula on Whole Column

Step 2: Select all the cells within the column where you want the formula applied, ensuring you include the cell containing the formula (for instance, cell C2).

Step 3:Navigate to the Home tab on the ribbon menu.

Step 4: In the editing group, locate and click on the Fill icon.

Step 5: Opt for the 'Fill down' option from the menu that appears.

Following these steps, the formula initially entered in cell C2 will be extended to all the selected cells below.

Adding the Fill Down Command to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

One handy tip is to add the 'Fill Down' command to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) to make this process even more efficient. Follow these simple steps to add this command to Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

Step 1: To add the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), right-click the 'Fill Down' option and select 'Add to the Quick Access Toolbar'.

Step 2: The 'Fill Down' icon will now be readily accessible in the QAT for one-click access, enhancing your overall workflow. So, now you will be quickly able to copy the formula with just one click by following the methods shared above.

How to Apply Excel Formula to Entire Column Automatically?

Excel makes things simple for users and reduces the redundant work of typing formulas in cells and rows. Excel is smart and knows that users can make mistakes if they have to type the same formula repeatedly. So, the team of Excel developers has added automation in the software to auto-fill formulas in rows and columns with just a few commands.

To automatically apply an Excel formula to an entire column without manual dragging, you can follow these steps:

Step 1: Enter Formula: Enter the formula in the first cell of the column where you want it to apply. It can be a complex formula, a look-up command or an arithmetic operation.

Step 2: Select Column: Click on the column header to select the entire column where you entered the formula. It highlights all the cells in the column. You can also use the command “CTRL + SHIFT + Down Arrow” till all the cells are highlighted in the column.

Step 3: Use Fill Command: Navigate to the "Home" tab on the Ribbon. Find the Fill Down icon in the Editing tab on the top right screen in the Home menu.

Applying Excel Formula to Entire Column Automatically

Applying Excel Formula to Entire Column Automatically

Step 4: Fill Down: In the "Editing" group, locate and click on the "Fill" icon. From the dropdown menu, select "Down." This action will populate the entire column with the formula, extending it down to match the number of cells you selected.

Applying Excel Formula to Entire Column Automatically

Applying Excel Formula to Entire Column Automatically

By following these steps, you can swiftly and automatically apply your formula to the entire column without the need for manual intervention, improving your efficiency when dealing with extensive datasets.

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FAQs

How to Copy a Formula in Excel to an Entire Column Without Changing References?

To copy a formula in Excel to an entire column without altering references, you can use these steps:

  1. Enter Formula: Enter your formula in the first cell of the column where you want it to apply.

  2. Double-Click Fill Handle: Double-click the small square in the bottom-right corner of the cell with the formula. This action automatically extends the formula down the column while keeping the references consistent.

  3. Check References: Confirm that the references in the formula remain unchanged as they are copied down the column.

By employing this method, you can efficiently copy a formula throughout a column while maintaining the original references intact.

How Do I Edit an Entire Column in Excel?

To edit an entire column in Excel, follow these steps:

Step 1: Select Column: Click on the column letter header to select the entire column you want to edit.

Step 2: Edit Cells: Once the column is selected, you can start editing the cells in the column. You can directly start typing to modify the content or press "F2" to enter edit mode for the selected cell.

Step 3: Apply Changes: After making your edits, press "Enter" to apply the changes to the selected cells in the column.

Step 4: Fill Down (Optional): If you want to apply the same edit to the entire column, you can copy the edited cell (Ctrl + C) and then use the "Fill Down" command (Ctrl + D) to apply the edit to the rest of the selected cells in the column.

Remember that editing an entire column can have a significant impact on your data, so make sure to double-check your changes before finalising them.

Summary

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to apply Excel formulas to entire columns without the need for manual dragging, offering three straightforward methods to achieve this. These methods include double-clicking, using keyboard shortcuts like CONTROL+D, and utilising the "Fill Down" feature.

Each method is explained step by step, ensuring seamless application of formulas and increased efficiency when dealing with data. Additionally, the article highlights WPS Office as a practical alternative to Microsoft Office, outlining its comparable features, user-friendly interface, and compatibility with Microsoft Office formats. This comparison aims to aid readers in choosing the right productivity suite for their needs.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.