How to Drag and Drop Cells in Excel & Google Sheets
This tutorial will demonstrate how to drag and drop cells in Excel and Google Sheets.
Drag and drop is a way to copy or move data in Excel using the mouse. It is an alternative to using cut and paste.
The Fill Handle
When you select a cell in Excel, the bottom right-hand corner of the cell contains a small square. This is known as the fill handle. If you click on the fill handle and drag your mouse either down some rows or across some columns, when you let go of the mouse button (drop the cursor), the cells you have dragged over are automatically filled with relevant data.
Say you have the value 1 in cell B2. If you click in the bottom right-hand corner of the cell, you will see the fill handle.
When you rest your mouse on the fill handle, your mouse pointer will change to a small black cross. You can then hold down the mouse button and drag this cross either down the required number of rows, or across the required number of columns.
Once you let the mouse button go, the cells you have dragged over are automatically filled, by default, with the value in the first cell (Copy Cells).
If you want to fill the cells with a series, you can instead select Fill Series.
If you have a value in the first cell that is recognized as part of a list, then when you let the mouse go, Excel selects Fill Series to fill with the values from that list.
Move Data From One Cell to Another
- To move data from one cell to another, select the cell you wish to move and position your mouse at the bottom of the cell. Your mouse pointer will change to an arrow with a small cross.
- Drag the mouse to the cell where you wish to drop the data.
- Release the mouse button to drop the data into the correct cell.
- If you want to move a range of cells, select all the cells you wish to move, and then move your mouse to the bottom row in the selection. Your mouse pointer will change to an arrow with a small white cross attached to it.
- Drag the mouse across or down to where you wish the cells to be moved to.
- Release the mouse cursor to drop the cells into the correct position.
Copy Data From One Cell to Another
Copying cell data by drag and drop is similar to moving cell data explained above except when you drag the mouse, hold the CTRL key down on the keyboard.
- Select the cell you wish to copy and position your mouse at the bottom of the cell. Hold down CTRL and notice the mouse pointer now has a small plus sign.
- Still holding down the CTRL key, drag the mouse across to the destination cell.
- Release the mouse button to copy the cell data.
This can of course, like moving the cell data, be down on a range of cells.
Drag and Drop Over Existing Data
If there is already data in the destination cell or cells where you are dragging the data to, Excel warns you about over writing the data that already exists.
Click OK to replace the data with the new data or Cancel to stop the drag and drop.
Drag and Drop Formulas
You can use the fill handle to drag and drop dynamic formulas.
- Select the cell that contains the formula you wish to copy, and then move your mouse pointer to the fill handle on the right-hand side of the cell.
- Drag the fill handle across the cells where you wish the formula to be copied to.
- Release the mouse button to drop the formulas into the selected cells. Notice that the formula changes dynamically as it is dragged across to its destination cells.
To move a formula using drag and drop, position your mouse at the bottom of the cell, and then drag the formula to your desired position
The formula doesn’t change dynamically but is moved to the destination location.
To copy the formula rather than move the formula, hold down the CTRL key as you drag the mouse across to the destination location.
Notice that when you drag and drop a formula using this method, the formula does change dynamically.
Drag and Drop Cells in Google Sheets
Dragging and dropping cells and formulas in Google Sheets works similarly.
To drag a formula across, select the fill handle, and then drag across to the final cell in your destination range.
To move data or a formula, select the cell where the data or formula is. Your mouse pointer should change to a small hand icon.
Drag the data or formula to its destination cell and release the mouse.
One limitation with Google Sheets is you cannot copy a formula (to a nonadjacent cell) using drag and drop. You would have to use CTRL + C and CTRL + V to copy formulas from one cell to another.