Use Paste Special to multiply (or add, divide etc.) a range with a variable [quick tip]

Posted on June 16th, 2015 in Excel Howtos , Learn Excel - 6 comments

Here is a fun way to use Paste Special to quickly multiply everything in a range with 1.1 (why 1.1? Well, imagine you have a report with everything in US $s and your boss wants to see the numbers in Australian $s…)

But your report looks like this:

sample-report-multiply-with-paste-special

And the total column has different formulas for each row. So you can’t multiply first cell with a rate variable and drag it down. You have to manually edit each formula and add *rate at the end of it.

Oh wait…, you can use Paste Special.

Simple, use below steps:

  1. Write the exchange rate in a cell. Name it as rate (or whatever you fancy).
  2. In a blank cell write =rate
  3. Copy this blank cell.
  4. Select the range of numbers which you want to multiply with rate
  5. TIP: if the numbers are not together, hold CTRL and multi-select the ranges.
  6. Press CTRL + ALT + V to launch paste special dialog
  7. Select Multiply as operation type
  8. Select Formulas as paste type
  9. Click ok
  10. Your multiplication is done!
  11. When the rate changes, simply change the original rate cell

Here is a quick demo of this process. Watch it to learn more.

Use Paste Special to multiply (or add, divide etc.) a range with a variable - Demo

Do you use Paste Special operations?

I use the operations feature of paste special from time to time. But I never thought it would actually write formulas when multiplying with a cell having formula. This is really cool and could save time in some very tricky situations.

What about you? Do you use Paste Special operations feature? When do you use it? Please share your tips & experiences in the comments area.

More tips on Paste Special

If you think pasting is all about CTRL+V, you are obviously missing out on many time saving features of Excel.

Check out below articles for many cools ways to save time when copy pasting things in Excel.

Written by Chandoo
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6 Responses to “Use Paste Special to multiply (or add, divide etc.) a range with a variable [quick tip]”

  1. MF says:

    This is absolutely one of my favorite tricks re copy and paste. 🙂

    We may skip step 1 (although it's good for understanding the formula easily) if we use absolute reference: e.g. if Rate is in F2, then in a blank cell, input $F$2 and follow the rest of the steps... (also we may skip step 8 if destination has the same format of the originating cell, i.e. F2)

    I have two other favorites:

    1) Paste as Linked Picture:
    http://wmfexcel.com/2013/11/22/paste-special-linked-picture-aka-camera-in-earlier-versions-of-excel/

    2) Paste using source's Column Width:
    http://wmfexcel.com/2014/08/30/copy-and-paste-table-while-keeping-column-widths/

  2. Worm says:

    I use it to convert numbers stored as text (usually from importing from an external source) to actual numbers.

    Done by Paste Special using either Add with a value of 0 or Multiply with a value of 1.

  3. I love this trick!

    But ... if the boss wants to see the USD reports translated to EUR, I think you should divide 🙂

    Still, very handy trick none the less!

    @MrsSpreadsheet

  4. Baudouin says:

    Hello Chandoo,

    It seems to me that it is necessary to add the Euro currency sign in column Total after the multiplication. Otherwise the results will be confusing (values in Dollars and other in Euros in the same table).

    Also at the current rate change, the multiplication should be done by 0.9 instead of 1.1 (but this is less important as the change rate will regularly change).

    Thanks for your awesome work and have a nice day!

    Baudouin

  5. PM Kiran says:

    Hi chandoo I use paste special to transpose data created a shortcut for the same. Nice to see your tips. Good quality work there

  6. Deshmukh says:

    This is amazing, its saves a lot of time compared to old methods. Please keep on sharing your valuable tips, excellent quality work. Thank you.

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