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Typing or formatting cells of repetitive data can be very boring, but Excel has an Auto Fill feature to make it easier by automatically filling in data for you. We thought we knew Auto Fill but it has some surprising and useful tricks.
Auto Fill goes beyond simple incrementing numbers or dates which is what most of us do. Auto Fill can be used for any type of data that fits a regular pattern. Dates are well supported with good options under a little-used menu as well as copying formatting choices.
Just a quick catch up for Excel newbies. Enter two or more values, select them then drag down/across to fill more cells according to the repeat pattern in the selected cells.
The simplest example is a list of integers, just drag down to make a list as long as you need. As you drag the tooltip show the last value you’ll get if you complete the drag there.
At the end of the completed fill is a little icon, click on that to see a fill menu of options. We’ll explain that a little later.
Auto Fill doesn’t stop at simple number list. Excel looks at the difference between the two selected cells and repeats it. These examples jump by two, three and seven.
As you can see, the starting value can be anything you like.
That’s the basic Auto Fill, from there Excel has a lot of hidden tricks available.