how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel

While working with an Excel spreadsheet, you perform countless calculations across cells in multiple columns. So, you most likely will encounter a situation where you have the same formula that you can apply to an entire column.

Fortunately, Excel provides us with various ways to do so. You just need to use the formula for one cell and then use it to apply across cells for the whole column.

So, without further delay, let’s get into the article to learn how.

How to Apply the Formula to the Entire Column in Excel?

Before applying the formula to the entire column, you need to apply it to at least one of the cells to use the methods below.

On the other hand, you can use these methods with a table in your spreadsheet so that you can sort and filter your data easily.

Using Fill Handle

The fill handle is a little square that appears on the bottom-right corner of the selected cell. When you hover over it, your cursor turns into a plus icon.

There are mainly two ways you can use the fill handle to apply the formula to the entire column. One is to hold and drag the fill handle across the cells to which you want to apply the formula. And the other is to double-click the fill handle.

By Double-Clicking the Fill Handle

The double-clicking method is one of the easiest methods to apply a formula to an entire column in Excel. It is extremely useful, especially when dealing with a large dataset, as it automatically applies the formula till the end of the max-length of its adjacent column block.

To use it,

  1. Select the cell where you have used the formula.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel
  2. Then, hover over its bottom-right corner and double-click the fill handle when it turns to a plus icon.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel
  3. After double-clicking the fill handle, Excel autofills the cells till the end of the adjacent column.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel

Note : If Excel finds a whole row missing while applying the formula, it will stop there and won’t be applied to cells further down below in the column. So, make sure there aren’t any blank rows applying using it and remove the gaps if necessary.

Let’s have a look at an example to clear get a clear picture of what happens if you have an empty cell while applying the formula.

how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel

Here, a whole row is missing, so the double-click method stops there and doesn’t fill the entire column.

how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel

However, in this case, even if one of the adjacent cells is blank, this method assumes its value as zero and continues to apply the formula to the whole column.

Dragging the Fill Handle 

In this method, you drag the fill handle up to the end of the column to use the same formula.

Generally, this method isn’t appropriate in the case of a large dataset. For instance,  if you have thousands of cells to apply the formula to, it’s impractical and inefficient to drag to the end of that column.

Here’s how you can use it:

  1. Select a cell where you have already applied the formula once.
  2. Then, hover over the fill handle (little square) until you see your cursor change into the plus icon.
  3. Next, hold and drag the fill handle down the column and release it until you reach the end.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel

Note: Unlike the above double-click method, even if the cell of columns used in the formula have a blank row while applying the formula, it sets the calculated value as zero and proceeds to other selected rows.

Using the Shortcut Key

Another way to apply the formula for the entire column is to use the Ctrl + D shortcut key. It pretty much works like the drag method.

But, instead of using the fill handle, you first drag downwards below the formula-applied cell across the whole column. Then, press the shortcut key.

Alternatively, you can drag across the whole column and then apply the formula to the first cell of the column. Then, instead of pressing the Enter key, you press Ctrl + Enter.

Copy Paste the Formula

As the name suggests, you copy and paste a cell formula to apply it across the cells in the whole column.

For this,

  1. Select the cell where you applied the formula.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel
  2. Next, copy it by using the shortcut key Ctrl + C on Windows. Press Command + C if you are using a Mac.
  3. Now, select the cells below in the column and press Ctrl + V (Windows) or Command + V (Mac) to paste. You can also choose to paste the formula to a different column.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel
  4. Also, to avoid using the formatting of the cell you copied, right-click and select the Formulas option (clipboard with the fx icon) under the Paste options.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel

Using the Fill Option from the Menu Bar

You can access the Fill option in the top menu bar to use the formula across the entire column.

  1. Select the first cell of the output column and drag the cells below along with it.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel
  2. Under the Home tab, click the Fill option in the top-right corner and choose the Down option.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel

Why Is the Autofill Not Working?

If the formula isn’t applied when using the drag handle, you need to enable an option in your Excel settings.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the File menu at the top and click Options.
  2. Then, select the Formulas tab in the sidecar.
  3. Under the Calculation options section, select the Automatic option below Workbook Calculation.
    how to, how to apply formula to entire column in excel

Keyword: How to Apply Formula to Entire Column in Excel

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