How to Apply a Formula to an Entire Column in Google Sheets (3 Easy Ways)

Google Sheets has some really useful formulas that can help you automate work and save a lot of time.

And when working with formulas in Goole Sheets, you would often need to apply the same formula for an entire column (since most of the time our data is arranged vertically).

If you have hundreds or thousands on cells in a column, you can’t manually apply a formula to each cell. There are ways you can apply a formula to an entire column in Google Sheets.

In this short tutorial, I will show you a couple of ways to copy down and apply a formula to an entire column in Google Sheets in a few steps.

So let’s get started!

Double-Click on Fill Handle to Copy Down Formula

Google Sheets has a fill handle feature that can save you time when you need to apply a formula to an entire column (it only works with columns and not rows).

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below, where there is a formula in cell C2 and you want to apply this same formula to all the cells in Column C (till C10).

Below are the steps to do this:

  1. Select the cell that already has the formula (cell C2 in this example)
  2. Place the cursor at the bottom-right part of the selection (the one that looks like a small thick blue square). You would notice that the cursor changes to a plus icon.Hover the cursor on the thick bluw square
  3. Double-click using the left-mouse key (or key-pad)

The above steps would instantly fill the column with the same formula until the last filled cell.

Apply Formula to an Entire Column using Fill Handle

Caution: While this method to apply a formula to the entire column works great, it has one limitation. It will only fill till the last contiguous filled cell. In case you have empty rows (an empty adjacent cell), using the autofill will stop right before it. One way to avoid this is to delete any empty row (or fill any empty cell) in the dataset.

Copy Down Formula Using Fill Handle

If you have a smaller dataset, you can also manually drag the fill handle to make sure it fills the cells and apply the same formula to the entire column.

This method can be useful when you have some blank cells/rows in the dataset and you can’t use the double-click method to copy down formulas.

Below are the steps to drag and copy the formula to the entire column (also works for rows):

  1. Select the cell that already has the formula (cell C2 in this example)
  2. Place the cursor at the bottom-right part of the selection (the one that looks like a small thick blue square). You would notice that the cursor changes to a plus icon.
  3. Left-click and drag to cover all the cells in which you want to copy down the formula.
  4. Leave the mouse/keypad button.

Apply Formula to an Entire Column using Drag and Drop

While this method is a bit difficult to use if you have a large dataset, you can very well use this with smaller ones (tens or a few hundred rows of data).

Apply Formula to Entire Column Using Array Formula

Another quick and effective method to apply a formula to the entire is by using dynamic array formulas in Google Sheets.

This method doesn’t need a lot of dragging and using the mouse231086 and can be quite effective if you have to copy down formulas often.

Suppose you have a dataset as shown below, where there is a formula in cell C2 and you want to apply this same formula to all the cells in Column C (till C10).

Below is the formula that will fill the formula in the entire column (and you only need to put this formula in cell C2):

=ArrayFormula(A2:A11-B2:B11)

Copy Down Formula to an entire column uisng Array formula

Since this is an array formula, it can handle an array of ranges and then give the output in the entire column (which is of the same size as that if ṭhe input arguments).

One drawback of using the array formula to apply the formula to an entire column is that you will not be able to delete a part of the array. If you try to delete content from any cell except the one in which you have added the formula, nothing would happen. You can, however, delete the entire array by selecting cell C2 and hitting the Delete key.

So there are some methods you can use to apply a formula to an entire column in Google Sheets.

Hope you found this tutorial useful!

You may also like the following Google Sheets tutorials:

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