How to Copy a Formula Down a Column in Excel Without Dragging

August 23, 2023 1.2K views

One common task in Excel is copying a formula down a column to apply it to multiple cells. While the traditional method of dragging the formula down the column is well-known, there are more efficient techniques that can save time and effort. This article will explore several methods for copying a formula down a column in Excel without dragging, and discuss the pros and cons of each method.

Part 1: 5 Easy Ways to Copy a Formula Down a Column Without Dragging in Excel

Copying formulas down a column in Excel can be time-consuming if done manually by dragging the fill handle. However, there are more efficient methods to achieve this without dragging. In this part, we will explore five ways to copy formulas down a column in Excel, each with its own advantages.

Method 1: Use a Formula Simultaneously for All of the Cells

Step 1: Select all of the cells of the Total column.

Select cells

Step 2: In the selected cell range, type the following formula in the formula bar: =A2+B2

Enter formula

Step 3: Press CTRL+ENTER.


This method offer speed and simplicity, making them ideal for routine tasks or users seeking efficiency.

Method 2: Shortcut Keys to Copy Formula

Step 1: Enter the following formula in cell C2 and then copy it by pressing CTRL+C.


Copy formula

Step 2: Press the Left (←) key to navigate to the left adjacent cell, and then go down to the last used cell by pressing CTRL + Down key (↓). This helps us reach the very last cell of the column due to its empty nature.

Shortcut way

Step 3: Press the Right (→) key, followed by CTRL + SHIFT + Up key (↑), to select all cells in the Profit column. Then, paste the formulas by pressing CTRL + V.

The result

This method provides a quick way to achieve the desired result using keyboard shortcuts.

Method 3: Using Fill Option

Step 1: Enter the formula =A2+B2 in cell C2.

Enter formula

Step 2: Select all cells in the Total column.

Step 3: Navigate to the Home Tab, and within the Editing Group, locate the Fill dropdown. From the dropdown, choose the Down Option.

Select Down

Method 3 result

This method is a good compromise between speed and ease of use. It is easy to remember how to use, and it can be used for formulas that are the same or different in each cell. However, it can be slow if you have a lot of cells to copy.

Method 4: Using Table Option

Step 1: Go to the Insert Tab and select the Table Option.

Select table

Step 2: The Create Table dialog box will appear. Select the range of your dataset.

Create Table dialog box

Step 3: Check the My table has headers option and click OK.

click OK

This will create a structured table as shown in the image.


Step 4: Start typing the formula =A2+B2 in cell C2. Here, A2 represents the Day 1, and B2 represents the Day 2

input formula

As you begin selecting cells A2 and B2, Excel will automatically convert them to the structured reference system, modifying the formula to =[@[Day 1]]-[@[Day 2]].

Step 5: Press ENTER to apply the formula to all cells in the Total column.

Press Enter

Recommended for users frequently working with Excel tables. This method is the most versatile, as it can be used for formulas that are the same or different in each cell. However, it can be the most difficult to learn, and it is not as fast as the other methods.

Method 5: Using VBA Code

Step 1 Press ALT+F11 or ALT+Fn+F11 (Windows versions) to access the Visual Basic Editor.

open VBA

Step 3: Click on the Insert drop-down menu.

Click Insert

Step 4: Select the Module option.

Select Module

Step 5: Enter the following VBA code:

Sub Price_Calculator()

Dim gRc As Long

Dim g As Long

gRc = Cells(Rows.Count, "B").End(xlUp).Row

For g = 2 To gRc

Cells(g, "C").Value = Cells(g, "B").Value + (0.15 * Cells(g, "B").Value)

Next g

End Sub

Step 6: Click on the Run menu. Select the option "Run Sub/UserForm" (or press F5).

Click Run

Step 7 The Macro dialog box appears. Click on the Run button.

The Macro dialog box

Step 8: Close the Visual Basic Editor (or press ALT+F4 or ALT+Fn+F4).


This technique is especially valuable for those who are well-versed in VBA and seek to streamline their Excel operations. But, it is also the most difficult to learn, and it is not necessary for most users.

By following these step-by-step tutorials, you can easily copy formulas down a column in Excel without the need to manually drag and fill each cell. Choose the method that best fits your task and level of comfort with Excel's features.

Part 2: A Comparison of 5 Methods - Which One Is Best for You?

When it comes to copying formulas in Excel without dragging, various methods offer distinct advantages based on your preferences and familiarity with the software. Here's a quick overview of the five methods discussed:

Method 1: Use a Formula Simultaneously for All of the Cells

  • Quickness: Quick and efficient.

  • Simplicity: Straightforward for basic formulas.

  • Beginner-Friendly: Highly recommended for beginners due to its simplicity.

As a regular Excel user, I often find this method convenient for its speed and ease of use. Ideal for tasks involving basic calculations or quick copies.

Method 2: Shortcut Keys to Copy Formula

  • Quickness: Quick and simple.

  • Simplicity: Easy, particularly for users accustomed to keyboard shortcuts.

  • Beginner-Friendly: Suitable for users comfortable with keyboard navigation.

This method is my go-to when I need to quickly copy formulas. It's efficient and doesn't require extensive mouse movements.

Method 3: Using Fill Option

  • Quickness: Efficient but requires additional steps.

  • Simplicity: Simple, especially for those accustomed to Excel's interface.

  • Beginner-Friendly: Well-suited for users familiar with Excel's features.

Method 4: Using Table Option

  • Quickness: Moderate speed.

  • Simplicity: Straightforward, especially if you're accustomed to working with tables.

  • Beginner-Friendly: Suitable for users who frequently work with Excel tables.

Method 5: Using VBA Code

  • Quickness: Potentially quick for users familiar with VBA.

  • Simplicity: Requires coding knowledge, best suited for experienced users.

  • Beginner-Friendly: Not recommended for beginners; better suited for users well-versed in VBA.

While I'm proficient in VBA, I prefer methods that require minimal coding. However, for advanced tasks or automations, VBA can be a powerful tool.

The best method for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. For routine tasks, I often opt for Method 1 or 2 due to their simplicity and speed. However, as you become more proficient, you might explore other methods to enhance your Excel capabilities.

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Can I Use the Fill Handle to Copy Formulas Across Rows?

Yes, you can employ the Fill Handle to copy formulas across rows by dragging it horizontally instead of vertically.

Can I Use the Copy and Paste Method for Non-formulaic Data Too?

Certainly, the copy and paste method extends beyond formulas. It's applicable for copying any data or values within Excel.


In wrapping up, mastering the art of copying formulas down a column in Excel without resorting to traditional dragging techniques can significantly boost your productivity. The methods explored in this guide offer various paths to achieve this, catering to diverse user preferences and skill levels.

For those seeking a comprehensive and free office suite, WPS Office stands out as a reliable option. Its compatibility with Microsoft Office files, rich feature set, and lightweight performance make it a valuable addition to your toolbox. While each method has its merits, WPS Office provides a practical solution to your office needs, enhancing your efficiency without compromising on functionality.

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