How-To

How to Apply Formula to an Entire Column in Excel

Excel

Copying and pasting formulas in Excel can be time-consuming. If you want to apply a formula to an entire column in Excel, follow this guide.

Formulas in Excel are a powerful way to manipulate your data. There are more than 450 functions that you can use in combination to create almost any formula you could wish for.

Once you’ve created your formula, however, you may want to apply it to other cells. You could simply copy and paste your formula into each cell, but if you’re working with a lot of data, this can quickly become time-consuming.

The good news is that it’s quick and simple to apply your formula to an entire column of cells with just a few clicks. If you want to know how to apply a formula to an entire column in Excel, follow the steps below.

How to Apply a Formula to an Entire Column in Excel Using AutoFill

The autofill handle is a tool in Excel that allows you to fill multiple cells with the same values or formulas. There are two ways that you can use the autofill handle to apply a formula to an entire column in Excel.

Double-Clicking the Autofill Handle

The simplest way to use the autofill handle is by double-clicking it. This will quickly apply your formula to multiple cells, although you don’t have control over exactly how many cells get filled.

Here’s how to apply a formula to an entire column by double-clicking the autofill handle:

  1. Select the first cell where you want your formula to appear and enter your formula.
    excel formula
  2. Press Enter.
  3. Click back on the cell to highlight it.
  4. Double-click on the small square in the bottom-right corner of the cell.
    excel autofill handle
  5. The cells beneath will now autofill.
    fill down in excel

This method applies your formula to all the cells beneath that have data in adjacent cells. If you have any gaps in your data, however, then the cells beneath those gaps won’t be filled.

fill down missing cells in excel

Dragging the Autofill Handle

If you want more control over which cells have your formula applied to them, you can opt to drag the autofill handle instead. This lets you select the range of cells to fill.

To apply a formula to an entire column by dragging the autofill handle:

  1. Select the first cell where you want your formula to appear and enter your formula in the cell.
    excel formula
  2. Press Enter.
  3. Click back on the cell to highlight it.
  4. Click and hold the small square in the bottom-right corner of the cell.
    excel autofill handle
  5. Drag down over the cells that you want the formula to apply to.
    drag down cells in excel
  6. Let go of the autofill handle and the cells will autofill.
    excel filled missing cells
  7. You can use the same method to fill cells down, up, left, or right.

How to Apply a Formula to an Entire Column Using the Fill Down Option

Another way to control exactly which cells your formula gets applied to is to use the Fill tool from the ribbon.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Select the cell where you want your formula to appear and enter your formula.
    excel formula
  2. Hit Enter.
  3. Highlight all of the cells where you want your formula to be applied.
    selecting cells in excel
  4. Click on Home.
    excel home menu
  5. In the Editing section of the ribbon, click on the Fill tool.
    fill tool in excel
  6. Click on Down from the list of options that appear. You can also choose to fill up, left, and right.
    fill down tool in excel
  7. Your selected cells will now have the formula applied to them.
    excel filled missing cells

How to Apply a Formula to an Entire Column With a Keyboard Shortcut

You can achieve the same result by using a keyboard shortcut.

To apply a formula to a specific set of cells:

  1. Click in the first cell where you want your formula to appear, and enter your formula in the cell.
    excel formula
  2. Hit Enter.
  3. Drag down to highlight all of the cells where you want your formula to be applied.
    selecting cells in excel
  4. Press Ctrl-D on Windows or Cmd-D on Mac.
  5. Your selected cells will now have the formula applied to them.
    excel filled missing cells

Excel Tips and Tricks Can Save You Time

Learning how to apply a formula to an entire column in Excel can save you a significant amount of time. There are plenty of other Excel tricks that can also be huge time savers.

Copy and paste tricks for Excel can help you move data around quickly and efficiently. If you want to lock your data once your formulas have been calculated, you can learn how to replace a formula with the result.

To get started, check out these Excel tips every user should know.

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