# Does dragging an Excel formula not work? Here’s why!

If I wake up tomorrow learning that the dragging formulas feature of Excel will no longer work – I’d prefer sleeping back assuming it was only a nightmare.

Half of the power of Excel is derived from its dynamics to drag the formula around the sheet in all four directions (above, down, right, or left. And they automatically adjust based on the changed cell references.

And it is just amazing. However, sometimes, when you try to drag a formula, you might not be able to capture the Fill Handle (it just doesn’t appear). Duh! 😓

Or even if it does, it doesn’t automatically the formulas the way it should (scratching my head).

Why is that? Why does dragging an Excel formula not work in such times? The reasons (together with their solutions) come in the tutorial that follows.

Grab your free practice workbook for this tutorial here and continue reading till the end.

## Why dragging an Excel formula won’t work

There can be two potential reasons why your Excel sheet no longer allows you to drag a formula across rows and columns.

Here are these 👇

### Fill handle and Cell drag and drop disabled

I have two lists of numbers in Excel.

Now if I want to sum these up, normally, I’d write up the following formula in a first cell adjacent to one of these columns.

Once I have set up this formula, I will hover my cursor around the right bottom of this cell to find a small plus icon (the fill handle). As soon as I find it, I will capture it and drag it down until my adjacent list ends to have the formula for the remaining cells done.

But what is this? As I hover my cursor over the bottom right corner of this cell, I don’t find the fill handle 🖌

The Fill-handle is a think black-colored plus sign. As soon as you hover the cursor around the right bottom of a cell, the white plus sign is replaced by it.

If this is the situation faced you, this is because, for some reason, the Fill handle and cell drag and drop for your Excel book have been disabled.

Here’s how you can enable it again.

**Step 1)** Go to the File tab.

**Step 2)** Go to Options.

**Step 3)** In the Options window, from the pane on the left, select Advanced.

**Step 4)** Search for the check box for “Enable fill handle and cell drag and drop”.

**Step 5)** Check this option.

**Step 6)** Press Okay.

Come back to your Excel sheet to find the fill handle back in place as you hover your cursor around the cell’s right bottom 🧾

**Step 7)** Try dragging the formula down now.

And you’ll see the formula is successfully dragged down (plus the sum for the next rows is rightly **automatically calculated.**

**P.S:** Formula dragging is too big of a blessing for Excel users 👼

### Calculation set to Manual

Another reason why dragging a formula in Excel might turn out to be an absolute failure is the inappropriate Calculation setting.

For example, when I drag the formula, to sum up the number in Cell A2 and B2 down the list, the formula is dragged but, this is what happens.

The formula is dragged down but, the numbers are the same. The formula didn’t recalculate for the remaining cells 🤯

This is because Excel didn’t automatically calculate the formula for the remaining rows as you dragged it down.

However, if you go to the Formulas tab > Calculation group > Click on the Calculate Sheet button now.

Or, you can press the keyboard shortcut key of Shift key + F9 to recalculate the sheet.

You’ll see the numbers for the dragged-down formulas will be updated. The only problem was that Excel hadn’t recalculated the sheet for the new formulas 🙋♀️

Technically speaking, this is not a problem with the fill handle but the calculation setting of Excel. However, if you do not resolve it, it will make the formula dragging down the exercise entirely ineffective.

To help this problem:

**Step 1)** Go to the Formulas tab > Calculation group > Calculation options > Set the calculation mode to Automatic.

Now when you drag and drop formulas in Excel, the dragging option will work absolutely fine.

With the calculation mode set to automatic, Excel recalculates each formula every time you make any change to the sheet 💡

## Conclusion

So here we are. We have seen both, the potential reasons why dragging an Excel formula might not work.

If you had a similar issue in Microsoft Excel, I hope reading this tutorial helped you resolve it. To look into similar other Excel tutorials that explain how you can resolve commonly faced issues of Excel, check out the following Spreadsheeto Excel tips and tutorials.