Find out how to copy expressions with out altering cell references in Excel


Microsoft Excel updates cell references once you copy an expression. Listed below are a few workarounds for these uncommon events when you do not need to change the cell references.

Picture: AndreyPopov, Getty Photographs/iStockphoto

Microsoft Excel has a useful conduct in regard to copying expressions. After getting into a row or column of expressions, you may copy them, and Excel will replace the cell references in accordance. In any other case, you’d need to enter all expressions manually and that will be tedious and open to error. Nevertheless, it isn’t unusual to run up towards a state of affairs once you will not need to replace the references. There is no simple built-in manner to do that. On this article, I will present you two fast workarounds for copying expressions with out updating the cell references.

SEE: 60 Excel tips every user should master (TechRepublic)

I am utilizing Microsoft 365 on a Window 64-bit system, however this works in older variations. You possibly can work with your individual information or download the demonstration .xls file. Each strategies work within the browser. 

How copy works with expressions in Excel

Whenever you copy an expression by utilizing the fill deal with, Excel updates relative cell references. For example, for those who copy the easy expression =B3/C3 one cell to the best, Excel will regulate the column reference and enter the expression =C3/D3. If the column reference is absolute ($), Excel will change nothing, and duplicate =$B3/$C3. Nevertheless, for those who copy the expression down one row, Excel will replace the row reference as a result of it is not absolute: =$B4/$C4. The identical conduct is in play whether or not you utilize Ctrl+C to repeat the expression or transfer it. This conduct makes it tough—unimaginable—to repeat an expression when you do not need to replace the cell references except all of these references are absolute: =$B$3/$C$3. 

SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download (TechRepublic Premium)

The simple manner handles a single expression in Excel

If in case you have only some expressions to repeat, retaining the unique references, you should use the components bar in edit mode. It is fast, simple and will get the job accomplished. We will illustrate this utilizing the easy information set proven in Determine A as follows:

  1. Choose D3.
  2. Go to the components bar and spotlight your complete expression.
  3. Press Ctrl+C.
  4. Press Esc.
  5. Choose the vacation spot cell, F3, and press Ctrl+V.

As you may see within the information set to the best in Determine A, each expressions reference the identical cells, B3 and C3. Should you’re working within the browser, you will must erase the ‘ character within the vacation spot cell earlier than it would consider the expression.

Determine A

excelcopyexp-a.jpg

  Let’s copy the expressions in column D with out updating the cell references. 

This methodology is fast and straightforward however works with one or a couple of expressions. If in case you have a variety of expressions, this methodology will take a very long time. Now, let’s take a look at a second methodology that takes a bit extra work however works with a number of expressions concurrently.

The exhausting manner handles many expressions in Excel

If you wish to make the identical change to a number of situations of the identical content material, what software do you normally use? Exchange—that is proper! That is the software we will use to repeat many expressions with out altering the cell references on the identical time:

  • First, we’ll add a particular character to the start of chosen expressions utilizing = because the Discover string and # because the substitute string Excel will deal with the expressions as textual content 
  • Then, we’ll copy the expressions to the brand new vacation spot.
  • Lastly, we’ll substitute the particular character we utilized in step 1 with the = character.

SEE: How to expose expressions that return a defined error value in Microsoft Excel (TechRepublic)

Now, let’s run by a fast instance utilizing the expressions in column D:

  1. Choose D3:D8.
  2. Press Ctrl+h or select Exchange from the Discover & Choose dropdown within the Modifying group (on the House tab)
  3. Enter = within the Discover what management.
  4. Enter # within the Exchange with management (Determine B). You do not have to make use of #; you should use most some other character however use one which’s not in use otherwise you may get surprising outcomes. That is why I selected #. If # is in use, give you one other character or perhaps a string of characters, equivalent to AAA or ZZZ.
  5. Click on Exchange All.
  6. Click on OK to substantiate and Shut.

As you may see in Determine C, Excel treats all the chosen expressions as textual content.

Determine B

excelcopyexp-b.jpg

  Enter the discover and substitute characters.

Determine C

excelcopyexp-c.jpg

  Excel shows the expressions as textual content.

Utilizing your favourite copy and paste methodology, copy the contents of D3:D8 to F3:F8. Now, it is time to substitute the # character with the = character. To take action, repeat the above directions, however in step 3, enter # and in step 4, enter =, reversing the unique search strings. Whenever you’re accomplished, you’ll have matching expressions in columns D and F (Determine D). You possibly can choose each units by making a non-contiguous choice or you may run the Exchange activity twice.

Determine D

excelcopyexp-d.jpg

  With a couple of simple steps, you copied a collection of expressions with out altering the cell references.

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