How to Copy Formulas on Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Copying formulas on Google Sheets is surprisingly simple. Select the cell with the formula you want to copy, click on the small blue square at the bottom right corner of the cell, and drag it across the cells where you want the formula to be applied. Voila! Your formula is now copied to those cells.

After completing this action, the formulas will automatically adjust based on their new location. For example, if the original formula was ‘=A1+B1’ and you copy it to the next row, it will change to ‘=A2+B2’ without you having to do anything.


Google Sheets is a powerful tool for organizing and analyzing data, and formulas are a critical part of its functionality. Whether you’re a student working on a project, a small business owner keeping track of finances, or someone who just loves to organize their life in spreadsheets, knowing how to copy formulas can save you a lot of time and effort.

Instead of manually retyping formulas for every cell, copying them allows you to quickly apply the same calculations to multiple cells. This not only saves time but also reduces the chance of making errors while entering formulas. It’s a skill that’s easy to learn and incredibly useful, so let’s dive into the step-by-step process of how to do it.

How to Copy Formulas on Google Sheets

To begin with, make sure you have a Google Sheets document open with at least one formula that you want to copy to other cells.

Step 1: Select the Formula

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

Once you select the cell, you’ll notice that the formula appears in the formula bar at the top. Make sure it’s the correct formula before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Use the Fill Handle

Click and hold the small square at the bottom-right corner of the selected cell.

This small square is known as the “fill handle.” When you click and drag it across other cells, it copies the contents of the original cell to the new cells.

Step 3: Drag the Fill Handle

Drag the fill handle across the cells where you want to copy the formula.

As you drag, you’ll see a preview of the cells that will be filled. Release the mouse button once you’ve covered all the cells you wish to copy the formula into.

Step 4: Check the Copied Formulas

Verify that the formulas have been copied correctly and are working as intended.

It’s always good practice to double-check the formulas after copying them. Look out for any cell references that might need adjusting for the new cells.


Saves TimeCopying formulas is much faster than entering them manually for each cell.
Reduces ErrorsWhen formulas are copied, there’s less risk of making mistakes in calculations.
Automatic AdjustmentFormulas automatically adjust references based on the new location, which is very convenient.

Copying formulas can drastically reduce the time spent on data entry and analysis. It’s a simple task that can have a significant impact on your productivity.

Reducing errors is always a priority when working with data. Copying formulas ensures consistency in calculations, which is crucial for accuracy.

The fact that Google Sheets automatically adjusts cell references in formulas when they’re copied is a game-changer. It means you don’t have to manually update each formula, which is a huge time-saver.


Context-SpecificFormulas may not always work as expected if copied to a different context where cell references need adjustment.
Limited to Similar Data StructuresCopying formulas works best when the data structure is consistent and similar across the range.
Possibility of Reference ErrorsIf not checked properly, copying formulas can result in reference errors, which can lead to incorrect data analysis.

When copying formulas, it’s important to remember that they might need some tweaking if the context changes significantly.

This method is most effective when the data is structured similarly across the spreadsheet. If the structure varies, you might run into some issues.

If you’re not careful, copying formulas can lead to reference errors. Always check the formulas after copying to ensure they’re referencing the correct cells.

Additional Information

While copying formulas is a straightforward task, there are a few additional tips you can consider to make your Google Sheets experience even smoother. For instance, if you need to copy a formula down an entire column, double-clicking the fill handle will automatically fill the column up to where your data ends. This is a nifty little shortcut that can save you the trouble of dragging the fill handle all the way down.

Another useful feature is the ability to copy a formula and paste it into a non-adjacent range of cells. To do this, select the cell with the formula, copy it using Ctrl+C (Cmd+C on Mac), select the cells where you want to paste the formula, and press Ctrl+V (Cmd+V on Mac). The formula will be copied to all selected cells, which can be quite handy when dealing with non-contiguous data ranges.

Lastly, remember that when you copy formulas on Google Sheets, relative references adjust according to the new location, but absolute references (those with a dollar sign, like $A$1) remain the same. This can be particularly useful when you have a constant value or reference that should not change across different cells.


  1. Select the cell with the formula you want to copy.
  2. Use the fill handle at the bottom-right corner of the cell.
  3. Drag the fill handle across the cells where you want to apply the formula.
  4. Check that the formulas have been copied correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fill handle?

The fill handle is a small square located at the bottom-right corner of a selected cell in Google Sheets. It’s used for copying cell contents and formulas.

Can I copy a formula to non-adjacent cells?

Yes, you can copy a formula and then paste it into non-adjacent cells by using the copy and paste commands (Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V).

Will copied formulas keep the same cell references?

Relative cell references in formulas adjust automatically when copied, while absolute references (with a $ sign) stay the same.

Can I copy a formula down an entire column quickly?

Yes, double-clicking the fill handle will fill the formula down the entire column, up to where your data ends.

Will copying a formula also copy the formatting of the original cell?

No, copying a formula using the fill handle will only copy the formula itself, not the cell formatting.


Mastering how to copy formulas on Google Sheets can significantly enhance your data management and save you valuable time. It’s a skill that’s easy to grasp but has a big impact on your efficiency when working with spreadsheets.

Remember the additional tips, such as using shortcuts to fill down a column or copying formulas to non-adjacent cells, to further streamline your Google Sheets experience. Whether you’re a business professional, student, or just someone trying to organize their life, knowing this trick can be a lifesaver. Keep practicing, and soon you’ll handle Google Sheets like a pro!