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Master the Excel Autofill Shortcut to Save Time on Data Entry

Microsoft Excel is a versatile and essential tool that empowers individuals and businesses to efficiently manage, analyze, and visualize data, ultimately contributing to improved decision-making and productivity. However, entering data into Excel can be time-consuming, especially if you must repeatedly enter the same data. Fortunately, Excel has a built-in Autofill feature that can help you save time on data entry.

What is Autofill?

Autofill is a feature in Excel that allows you to quickly fill a series of cells with a pattern of data. For example, if you have a list of dates that you want to enter into a column, you can use Autofill to automatically fill in the rest of the dates based on the pattern you establish. This can save you a lot of time and effort, especially if you have a large amount of data to enter.

How to Use Autofill

how to use autofill

Enter the first value in the series, select the cell, and then drag the fill handle (the small square in the bottom right corner of the cell) down or across the cells you want to fill. Excel will automatically fill in the rest of the series based on the pattern it detects.

For example, if you enter the value “1” in cell A1 and “2” in cell A2, you can use Autofill to fill in the rest of the series by selecting cells A1 and A2 and then dragging the fill handle down to the cells you want to fill. Excel will automatically fill in the rest of the series with the values “3”, “4”, “5”, and so on.

Customizing Autofill

Autofill is not limited to simple numbers or date series. You can also use it to fill in custom patterns of data. For example, if you have a list of names that you want to enter into a column, you can use Autofill to fill in the rest of the names based on the pattern you establish.

customizing autofill 788x

To customize Autofill, enter the first value in the series, select the cell, and then drag the fill handle down or across the cells you want to fill. As you drag, Excel will preview the pattern it detects. If the pattern is not what you want, you can customize it by removing the fill handle in a different direction or entering a different value in the next cell.
 

Using Autofill with Formulas

Autofill is not limited to simple data patterns. You can also use Autofill to fill in formulas. For example, if you have a formula that calculates the total cost of an order based on the quantity and price of each item, you can use Autofill to fill in the rest of the formula for each order.   To use Autofill with formulas, enter the formula in the first cell, select the cell, and then drag the fill handle down or across the cells you want to fill. Excel will automatically adjust the formula for each cell based on the pattern it detects.

 

You can also refer to these helpful articles on how to use Excel shortcuts:

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FAQs

Can Autofill be used for numerical sequences?

Yes, Autofill is especially handy for numerical sequences. Enter the starting numbers in two adjacent cells, select them, and then drag the fill handle to extend the sequence.

What is the benefit of using Autofill for date entries?

Absolutely. You can create a custom list by entering a few items, selecting them, and then using the fill handle to extend the list in the desired order.

How does Autofill handle text patterns and labels?

Autofill is equally helpful for text patterns and labels. Enter the initial text, use the fill handle to extend the series, and Excel automatically increment or repeat the pattern.

How does Autofill handle text patterns and labels?

Absolutely. You can create a custom list by entering a few items, selecting them, and then using the fill handle to extend the list in the desired order.

How do you activate Autofill in Excel?

To activate Autofill, you can hover over the bottom-right corner of a cell until the cursor turns into a small square (the fill handle) and then drag it to fill adjacent cells.

 

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