Recently I was watching an Excel product review and noticed the author copy Excel values from a formula into another column. This was fine, but then he deleted the column with the formula. Sound familiar? In this tutorial, I’ll show you two faster and easier ways to copy the value and not the formula. (See the Resource section for a video demo and sample spreadsheet.)
Why Copy Formula Values
There are many reasons for copying formula values. Sometimes you don’t want others to know how the result was derived. Other times, you just want to make it simpler and faster for users. This is particularly true if your spreadsheet calls external resources or spreadsheets.
In the example below, I’m copying the values from a text formula that concatenates first and last names. Instead of pasting the full name into a new column such as D, I’ll overwrite the formula in C.
Method 1 – Use Copy and Paste Special Values
This method uses buttons you already know. The difference is most people paste the formula values into a new column. They don’t realize you can paste the values into the same column.
- As a precaution, I like to press CTRL+ALT+F9. This forces the spreadsheet to recalculate all cells in case auto-recalculate was turned off.
- Click the top cell of the column you wish to copy. In this tutorial, it would be C1.
- Press CTRL+SHIFT+ the down arrow key to select the column.
- Click the Copy button from the Home tab on the ribbon.
- Click the bottom part of the Paste button on the toolbar, and then select the Paste Values button.
If you move through column C you should see that the formulas have been replaced with the values.
Excel Paste Values Shortcut
If you’re like me and prefer keystrokes over a mouse, here’s the shortcut sequence.
Alt + e + s + v
Method 2 – Use the Mouse to Clone the Column Values
This method is a little trickier, but I think you’ll agree that it’s the easier solution.
- Follow Steps 1-3 in Method 1.
- Move your mouse cursor to the far right of the cell until it changes to a four-headed arrow.
- Press your right mouse button and drag the column to the right. (Don’t worry if it looks like you’ve shifted cells up or down.)
- With the right mouse button still pressed, drag the column back onto itself and let go of the mouse button. A new menu should appear.
- From the context menu, choose Copy Here as Values Only.
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