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Incredibly easy steps to help you learn how to AutoFill Excel

If you are a frequent user of Excel, you might have realized that filling in spreadsheets manually takes a really long time. It is a very tedious job. If you are looking for a way to exponentially reduce the time you spend on Excel spreadsheets, then take a look at how to use AutoFill Excel.

AutoFill Excel

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Using the Microsoft AutoFill feature makes the process of filling spreadsheets really easy as it lets you fill-up the spreadsheet's cells much faster than if you did it manually. Here is our really simple step-by-step guide on how to use AutoFill Excel.

How do you use the AutoFill Excel?

This feature is mostly used when copying formats and formulas, filling in lists, dates, numbers, and many more.

The very first step in the process is to open a blank Excel sheet. From here on, just fill the very first cell A1 with whatever you wish to fill. It could be numbers, names, month, or day of the week.

Here is how to fill each of the above:

AutoFill numbers

Say you wish to have the number 10 all over the worksheet, follow the next steps:

  • Place the cursor at the bottom right corner of your cell. You will note that your cursor changes colour and shape from a bold white cursor to a small thin black one.
  • Drag this cursor to whichever direction you wish to have filled (across or downwards), and the boxes shall automatically be filled with the original number without any changes.
AutoFill Excel

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If you want to add numbers where they increase in value: A1 =10, A2 =20, A3 = 30 and so forth, do the following:

  • Fill the first cell with the number 10 and the 2nd cell with 20. This lets the programming processor know that it will need to complete all the other cells with an addition of 10.
  • Go ahead and drag the black cursor. All the numbers shall be filled based on the pattern of the first two boxes.

READ ALSO: How to find and remove duplicates Excel: tutorial

AutoFill months and weekdays

Months are extremely easy to fill in spreadsheets. Once the first month has been added to the cell, just drag the small cursor in the desired side (downwards or across). Excel automatically fills in all the other months of the year. Note that they can be inserted in full (January) or in short-form (Jan). The program will automatically follow whichever direction is set in the first cell.

How to use AutoFill

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It should be noted that if you want the cells to have the same month, for example, February over 5 cells, you will need to hold down 'CTRL' on your keyboard as you drag the fill handle, the little black cursor, down. Failure to do this will led to the months being inserted as they would normally appear on the calendar.

Weekdays follow the same pattern as months do.


Inserting names into the boxes works just the same as with the above names options. Whatever name has been included in the first cell shall be repeated over the other boxes in the worksheet. If the names need to alternate, just fill the required cells with the names and then drag the cursor in the desired side. They shall be inserted in the desired alternating format.

AutoFill Excel

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Where is the AutoFill function in Excel?

The fill function is found at the top right corner of your worksheet. This function is not as fast or as effective as the AutoFill one.

AutoFill function

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However, as you insert in dates, you will note that as you drag the black cursor, a smaller box appears.

AutoFill options

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This has more options. It gives you the option to copy cells, fill series, months, among many others.

What is the shortcut for Autofill in Excel?

Instead of having to drag the fill handle all over your sheet, there are two other ways in which you can make the job of filling cells even shorter:

Double-clicking on cells

Instead of dragging the black cursor all over your worksheet, this option lets you copy values/words on cells by just double-clicking on them. Doing this allows Excel to go ahead and copy whatever is in the cell above to all the cells below it.

It should be noted that it will stop copying if it encounters an empty row on your spreadsheet.

Using the "Shift Key" on your keyboard

Here are the steps that you will follow:

  • In the desired box, fill whatever word or value that you wish to have copied.
  • Without clicking out of the box, press the Shift key, as well as the arrow key (down if you wish to fill the column and sideways if you wish to fill the row) up to where you wish the value/words to reach.
  • Then press Ctrl+D (to fill down) or Ctrl+R (to fill right).

Using these two ways makes the time spent on spreadsheets even shorter than before.

We hope that this 'how to use AutoFill Excel' step-by-step guide helps you with your spreadsheet needs.

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READ ALSO: How to split cells in Excel: An easy tutorial

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About Article Author

Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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