Guest Author - Consuelo Herrera, CAMS, CFE
Quickly filling in a series is an excellent tool to streamline time. This is accomplished by using the fill handle. This feature is helpful when you need increments in any series of numbers, words, or other items. For example, if you type Monday in any cell and Tuesday in a cell that adjoins it, you can use the Fill Handle to complete this series. Of course, using this feature to fill in the months of the year, the days of the week is not a big deal, but if you have a long series of numbers, this becomes very useful. The fill handle is the square dot in the lower right corner of the selection.
1. Select the first cell in the range you want to fill, and then enter the starting value for the series.
To increment the series by a specified amount, select the next cell in the range and enter the next item in the series. The difference between the two starting items determines the amount by which the series is incremented.
2. Select the cell or cells that contain the starting values.
3. Drag the fill handle over the range you want to fill.
To fill in increasing order, drag down or to the right.
To fill in decreasing order, drag up or to the left.
The easiest way to use this is by selecting two cells and then hover your mouse pointer over the Fill Handle until it changes to a small black cross. Do a left click and drag the selection in the direction in which you want the incremented item to show.
Enter Today’s date in cell A1 and make sure that the cell pointer goes back to cell A1. Next, grab the fill handle and drag down the column. You will see the last date of the last cell in the range. Once you release the mouse button, Excel adds dates as needed.
To specify the type of series, use the right mouse button to drag the fill handle over the range, and then click the appropriate command on the shortcut menu. For example, if the starting value is the date JAN-2009, click Fill Months for the series FEB-2009, MAR-2009, and so on; or click Fill Years for the series JAN-2010, JAN-2010, and so on.
Make the best of the Auto Fill tool by adding your own custom lists within your organization such as a series of department titles or employees’ names to your spreadsheets you can create a custom list and then use Auto Fill to quickly filling in your information.