In Google Sheets you can select a formatted row, click the "Paint Format" Tool, then click another row to apply the same format. You can drag down to do multiple rows if they are together (say rows 50-60).

Is there a way to do this with non-connected rows?

(ie. rows 50, 62, 89)

I tried to hold CTRL between clicks and it says

"This operation is not supported with multiple selections"

I am also fine with a keystroke option (after formatting the new row, hit something like CTRL+P or whatever to copy the Format of the newly formatted row) something to bypass having to go back up to the icon for another row.

  • So, not exactly what I am looking for (so an answer is still available) but, Ctrl+Alt+V will paste the format over and over. Click the Brush (or Ctrl+Alt+C) then click the cells/row, Ctrl+Alt+V then click another row, and Ctrl+Alt+V again, etc.
    – BillyNair
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 5:02

3 Answers 3


I figured out a way that is almost as good. Early on in Google sheets double clicking the paintbrush icon worked. Why Google removed that I don't know. But while you can't make the paintbrush icon "stick" anymore, what you can do is:

  1. click the cell (or range of cells) whose format you want to copy.
  2. click the paint-format paintbrush icon (to copy format).
  3. click the first cell you want to copy that format to. That cell will receive the copied format.
  4. click the next cell (or range of cells) you want that same format copied to. Use ctrl-click to select multiple non-adjacent cells. Can select non-adjacent cells only if you selected just 1 cell in step 1.
  5. press CTRL-Y (to re-do the paste-format). That cell will receive the same format you originally copied in steps 1/2 above).
  6. Repeat 4/5 above for all cells that you want the format copied to.
  • says "Operation not possible with Multiple Selections" sometimes, but works other times... not sure what the difference is when it works or not
    – BillyNair
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 10:33
  • 1
    Figured it out. How to EASY: Select format cell, click Paint Brush, then hold [Ctrl] and select all your cells, then Ctrl+Y to paint them all. Can only be 1 format (not a row of various formats). TY Tom
    – BillyNair
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 8:10
  • I got the same 'Operation not possible' message as BillyNair, but I found another weird trick that may help people. I'm pasting format into rows at a time, so I want to select a cell, click Paste Format button, then apply that format to about 8 columns across multiple rows of cells. Once I have applied the format to a row of cells, Sheets seems to remember how many columns I applied it to. After that, selecting a single cell in column A, or cells in a column e.g. A5:A10, and hitting Ctrl-Y applies the format to the appropriate columns in the selected rows.
    – Neek
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 7:10
  • 1
    BillyNair, @Neek, "operation not possible" happens if you copied multiple cells with the paintbrush, then you highlight multiple non-adjacent cells (using click/ctrl-click) or you highlight multiple cells that don't match the pattern you copied, then you try to paste those formats to multiple cells with ctrl-y (redo) after initial pasting. That's what I was getting at in #4 above. You can only paste to multiple non-adjacent cells if the format you copied was only 1 cell.
    – TomWalker
    Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 22:03
  • "I've got an idea! Let's make it NOT work the same way as every other application of it's kind has since the dawn of time :D" - Google Commented Jun 7 at 18:31

In a (not-so-distant) past, it was possible to do what you want by double-clicking the Paint Format icon and then selecting the destination cells no matter if such cells were contiguous or not. However, this feature's been disabled by Google. Hence, it's currently not possible to do what you asked in your question above.

  • Any idea why this was taken out? Seems like a useful feature was disabled for no good reason.
    – Mrchief
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 16:31
  • 1
    @Mrchief Whilst a contiguous row interval can be expressed as simplistically as {15:60}, a non-contiguous one requires a (more complex) array structure such as e.g. {15:30;35:42;44:49;57:60}. It's likely that this requires much more CPU and RAM due to its inherent complexity. Probably more programming work, too. But I'm just speculating... Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 23:58
  1. Select the cell whose format you want to copy, and hit Cmd+C
  2. Select the individual cells where you want to copy the format to (use Cmd+Click to non-contiguous cells)
  3. Use the right-click context menu to select "Paste Special > Format only"; or use the keyboard shortcut Option+Cmd+V.

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