Duplicating Formulas in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Duplicating formulas in Google Sheets is a handy trick to know. It allows you to apply the same calculations across multiple cells without having to retype the formula each time. This can save you a ton of time and effort, especially when dealing with large datasets. After reading this article, you’ll be able to duplicate formulas like a pro!

Step by Step Tutorial: Duplicating Formulas in Google Sheets

In this section, we’ll walk through the steps to effectively duplicate formulas in Google Sheets. This will not only make your work more efficient but also minimize the chance of errors.

Step 1: Select the Cell with the Formula

Click on the cell that contains the formula you want to duplicate.

In Google Sheets, formulas are how you do calculations. To duplicate a formula, you first need to click on the cell where the formula is. This will highlight the cell, showing that it’s selected.

Step 2: Copy the Formula

Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C (Cmd+C on a Mac) to copy the selected formula.

Once the cell is selected, you can copy the formula by using a quick keyboard shortcut. This copies the formula to your clipboard, which is like an invisible space where things you copy are kept until you paste them somewhere else.

Step 3: Select the Destination Cells

Click and drag to select the cells where you want the formula to be duplicated.

After copying the formula, you need to tell Google Sheets where you want to place it. By clicking and dragging, you can select multiple cells at once. These are the cells where the formula will be repeated.

Step 4: Paste the Formula

Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on a Mac) to paste the formula into the selected cells.

Now, it’s time to paste the formula into the new cells you’ve selected. Using another quick keyboard shortcut, the formula from the first cell will be duplicated in all the cells you’ve selected.

After you complete the action, all the selected cells will now have the same formula, and they will automatically calculate their values based on their individual positions in the sheet. For example, if your formula refers to the cell to its left, the duplicated formulas will each refer to the cells to their respective lefts.

Tips for Duplicating Formulas in Google Sheets

Here are some extra tips to ensure you duplicate formulas effectively and efficiently.

  • Always double-check the range of cells you’ve selected before pasting the formula to prevent any accidental overwriting of data.
  • Use the fill handle (a small square at the bottom right of a selected cell) to drag and duplicate the formula to adjacent cells.
  • If you’re duplicating a formula with relative cell references, be aware that these will change based on the position of the new cell. Absolute references (with dollar signs like $A$1) will not change.
  • To quickly fill down a formula to all the cells below, double-click the fill handle.
  • If you need to duplicate the formula across a row instead of down a column, you can still use the fill handle—simply drag it to the right.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I duplicate a formula to non-adjacent cells?

Yes, you can copy a formula and then hold down the Ctrl key while selecting non-adjacent cells to paste it into.

What’s the difference between relative and absolute references in formulas?

Relative references change when a formula is moved or duplicated (e.g., A1 becomes A2). Absolute references remain constant no matter where the formula is moved (e.g., $A$1 stays $A$1).

How do I prevent a cell reference from changing when duplicating a formula?

Use absolute references in your formula by adding a dollar sign before the column letter and row number (e.g., $A$1).

Is there a limit to how many cells I can duplicate a formula to?

No, but the more cells you select, the longer it might take for Google Sheets to process the request, especially if your formula is complex.

Can I duplicate a formula across different sheets?

Yes, you can copy a formula and paste it into cells on a different sheet within the same Google Sheets document.


  1. Select the cell with the formula.
  2. Copy the formula.
  3. Select the destination cells.
  4. Paste the formula.


Duplicating formulas in Google Sheets is a simple yet powerful technique that can save you time and ensure consistency across your data. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a spreadsheet novice, mastering this skill can streamline your workflow and help you harness the full potential of Google Sheets. Keep practicing these steps, and you’ll be duplicating formulas with ease in no time. And remember, as with any tool, the more you use it, the more efficient you’ll become. So, go ahead and give it a try – your future self will thank you for the time saved!

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