# How to Apply a Formula to an Entire Column in Excel on Mac Without Dragging?

Do you need to apply a formula to an entire column in Microsoft Excel on your Mac, but want to avoid manually dragging the formula down? Luckily, there are several easy ways to quickly apply formulas to full columns in Excel without dragging. In this article, we’ll walk through the steps to **auto-fill formulas in Excel columns on a Mac** using shortcuts and special paste options.

## Applying Formulas to a Column with Double-Click Fill

One of the fastest ways to **apply a formula to an entire column in Excel for Mac** is to use the double-click fill method:

- Enter your formula in the first cell of the column where you want the formula applied.
- Hover your cursor over the small square in the bottom-right corner of the cell with the formula. Your cursor should change to a black plus sign (+).
**Double-click the plus sign**. Excel will automatically copy the formula down the entire column, detecting the last row with data.

That’s it! With a quick double-click, your formula will be applied to every cell in the column. This method works well if you have data in adjacent columns that extend to the last row you want to fill.

### Example

Let’s say you have a column of numbers in column A and you want to multiply each number by 5 in column B. Enter the formula `=A1*5`

in cell B1. Then double-click the plus sign in the bottom-right corner of B1 to fill the formula down the entire column B.

## Using the Fill Down Shortcut to Apply Formulas

Excel for Mac has a keyboard shortcut that lets you quickly fill formulas (or any content) down a column:

- Type your formula in the first cell of the column.
- Select the range of cells you want to fill, starting with the cell containing the formula. You can select the entire column by clicking the column letter header.
- Press
**Command+D**(⌘D) to Fill Down. Excel will copy the formula from the top cell to all the selected cells below it.

This shortcut is handy if you want to fill a specific range within a column, rather than always filling a formula down to the last row of data in the spreadsheet. It saves you from having to manually select and drag the fill handle.

### Example

Imagine you have a column of prices in column A and you want to add a 7.5% tax in column B, but only for rows 1 through 20. Enter the tax formula `=A1*0.075`

in cell B1. Select cells B1:B20. Press Command+D and the formula will be copied to all selected cells.

## Applying Formulas with Paste Special

Another way to apply a formula to an entire Excel column is to use the Paste Special options in the Edit menu:

- Enter your formula in the first cell of the column.
- Copy the cell with the formula (Command+C or ⌘C).
- Select the range where you want to apply the formula. To apply it to the whole column, click the column header to select the entire column.
- Go to the
**Edit menu**and select**Paste Special**. - In the Paste Special menu, choose
**Formulas**and click OK. Excel will paste just the formulas, not formatting, to the selected cells.

Using Paste Special gives you more control over what exactly gets pasted to the selected cells. It allows you to paste just the formulas without any formatting.

### Example

Say you have a column of item quantities in column A and the price per item in cell B1. You want to calculate the total cost for each item in column C. Put the formula `=A1*$B$1`

in cell C1 and copy it. Select the range C1:C100. Go to Edit > Paste Special > Formulas. The formula will be pasted in C1:C100, referencing the corresponding cells in column A while always multiplying by the price in B1.

## Filling a Column with Auto Fill Options

Excel for Mac also offers Auto Fill Options that appear when you drag the fill handle to apply formulas:

- Enter the formula in the first cell of the column.
- Hover over the fill handle (small square in bottom-right of cell) until the cursor becomes a black plus sign.
- Click and
**drag the fill handle**down the column to the last cell where you want the formula applied. - Release the mouse button. An Auto Fill Options button will appear next to the last cell you filled.
- Click the Auto Fill Options button and select
**Fill Defaults**to fill the formulas normally. Or choose**Fill Without Formatting**to apply just the formulas without any formatting.

The Auto Fill menu gives you one-click options to control how Excel fills the formulas after dragging the fill handle. It’s useful if you want to quickly undo or adjust the fill.

### Example

You have student scores in column A and you want to apply a formula in column B to check if they passed by scoring over 60%. Enter the formula `=IF(A1>0.6,"Pass","Fail")`

in B1. Drag the fill handle in B1 down to B50. Click the Auto Fill Options button and select Fill Defaults to apply the formula.

## Pros and Cons of Each Method

Method | Pros | Cons |
---|---|---|

Double-Click Fill | Quick and easy, fills entire column | Only works if data extends to last row |

Fill Down Shortcut (⌘D) | Fast way to fill specific range | Doesn’t work for full column unless entire column selected |

Paste Special > Formulas | Pastes only formulas, not formatting | Requires extra steps of copy/paste |

Auto Fill Options | Allows undo or adjust fill | Menu only appears after dragging fill handle |

Each method to fill formulas down a column in Excel for Mac has advantages and disadvantages. The best method depends on your specific situation and spreadsheet setup.

## Tips for Applying Formulas to Columns

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when applying formulas to entire columns in Excel on a Mac:

**Use absolute cell references**like`$A$1`

in formulas that reference cells you don’t want changed when filling (e.g. a tax rate or price per item).**Check the last cell filled**to make sure the formula filled correctly all the way to the end of your data.- If you
**change your source data**after filling formulas, the auto-filled formulas will automatically update. - Be cautious about filling thousands of rows with complex formulas, as it can slow down your spreadsheet.
- Convert formulas to values with
**Paste Special > Values**if you want to keep the formula results but not the formulas themselves.

By following these tips, you can effectively apply Excel formulas to entire columns on your Mac without having to drag the fill handle down hundreds or thousands of rows.

## Final Thoughts

Filling formulas down a column is a common task in Excel, but it can be tedious to drag the fill handle manually. Luckily, **Excel for Mac provides several methods to quickly apply formulas to an entire column without dragging**:

**Double-click the fill handle**to auto-fill a formula down to the last row of data- Use the
**Fill Down shortcut Command+D**to copy a formula to the selected range below - Apply formulas with
**Paste Special > Formulas**to paste only the formulas without formatting - Drag the fill handle and use the
**Auto Fill Options**menu to fill formulas with one click

By mastering these techniques to auto-fill formulas in columns, you can **save time and effort** when working with formulas in Microsoft Excel on your Mac. Try out each method to find the one that works best for your workflow and spreadsheets.

## FAQs

### What is the quickest way to apply a formula to an entire column in Excel on Mac?

### Is there a keyboard shortcut to fill formulas down a column in Excel on Mac?

### How can I apply a formula to a column without copying the formatting in Excel on Mac?

### What are the Auto Fill Options in Excel on Mac, and how do they work?

### What are absolute cell references, and when should I use them in formulas?

Vaishvi Desai is the founder of Excelsamurai and a passionate Excel enthusiast with years of experience in data analysis and spreadsheet management. With a mission to help others harness the power of Excel, Vaishvi shares her expertise through concise, easy-to-follow tutorials on shortcuts, formulas, Pivot Tables, and VBA.