Double a column/cell in Excel
November 4, 2010 11:51 PM   Subscribe

Excel 2007 question: I have several cells/columns of numbers that I simply need to double. So 5 becomes 10, 9 becomes 18, etc. I'm an Excel n00b and can't figure this out for the life of me. Help!

If there's a simple "double" formula then I'm totally missing it. I'd like to simply replace the existing number in the cells with its double. Any simple way to do this, Excel masters?
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by dfriedman at 11:53 PM on November 4, 2010

To expand on dfriendman's answer, type that into the column you want to store the doubled numbers in and then click and drag from the lower right hand corner of the cell (the mouse pointer should become a cross). Drag down and a1 will become a2 in the next cell down.
posted by Hactar at 11:56 PM on November 4, 2010

Clarify: Do you need to do this in place? I'd do what dfriedman said, then copy/paste special the results back over the original data if so, but then I'm just a programmer, not an Excel master.
posted by themel at 11:57 PM on November 4, 2010

Also, once you're done, copy and paste the numbers into the original column and delete the extra column. You may have to specify in pasting that you're pasting in the values, not the formula.
posted by Hactar at 11:58 PM on November 4, 2010

So fast! Yeah, I'd like to keep them in the same cells.
posted by zardoz at 12:05 AM on November 5, 2010

The only way to do it in place without an intermediate step is to edit every cell individually. Add = before the number and *2 afterwards and it will give you the new value (because remember that 'doubling' is just multiplying by two). That's tedious though, particularly if you have more than a few numbers.

Much faster to add a formula in the next spare cell as dfriedman gives, where a1 or whatever points to the cell with the old number. If it's a different cell just type as written above and drag the blue outline onto the correct box. Then select all the cells below it as far as you need to go down and hit control-d (or drag the box corner) to copy the formula down. Then cut and paste the entire column back over the old column to replace with the doubled numbers (cutting will delete the column with the formula at the same time). Make sure you right click and choose paste special rather than just use control-v or the normal paste function, then choose the option to paste the number values.
posted by shelleycat at 12:38 AM on November 5, 2010

There's no formula-based method for replacing a cell with its own double, as Excel wouldn't know when to stop; it would just keep doubling the affected cells until it achieved escape velocity or melted down or both. And there's no menu entry or toolbar button for it either, because it's not something that needs doing anywhere near as often as all the things there are menu entries or buttons for. So you'll just have to calculate the doubles into their own column, then Cut the results and Paste Special -> Numbers to replace the originals by hand.
posted by flabdablet at 1:32 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Are you sure you need to keep them in place? I'd just create a new column next to them, do the =a2*2 thing suggested above, then right click and hide the column with the original numbers. You can use the format painter to make the new column match the old one exactly, too.
posted by Aizkolari at 3:10 AM on November 5, 2010

Type "2" in some other cell, copy it, highlight the column of numbers you want to double and then go Paste Special -> Multiply.
posted by mullacc at 3:43 AM on November 5, 2010 [14 favorites]

Holy crap, there is a menu entry for just that purpose. I am properly schooled. Well done mullacc. Same thing is in the same place in Calc too, for what it's worth.
posted by flabdablet at 3:48 AM on November 5, 2010

I don't have Excel 2007. Can you open another document, type "2" into a cell, then select that cell, copy, and then select the range of cells that you wish to change, paste special --> multiply?
posted by teragram at 6:43 AM on November 5, 2010

oooooo I didn't read!
posted by teragram at 6:43 AM on November 5, 2010

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