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Fast AutoFill

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Fast AutoFill.

The AutoFill feature in Excel is a great boon to certain types of editing. The basic use of the feature (clicking and dragging on the AutoFill handle) has been covered in other ExcelTips. There is another way you can use the AutoFill handle, however, that is a wonderful time-saving feature.

Suppose you have a column full of values in column A. For instance, you have values in the cells A3 through A417. Now, suppose you want to fill adjacent cells in column B with a sequential values, 1 through 415. Try this:

  1. In cell B3, place the value 1.
  2. In cell B4, place the value 2.
  3. Select the range B3:B4.
  4. Double-click on the AutoFill handle.

That's it! No dragging at all, and you now have cells B5:B417 filled with sequential values. Cool, huh?

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2029) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Fast AutoFill.

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Comments for this tip:

Kim    22 Jun 2012, 08:16

I was only highlighting the cell containing the number 2 and using auto fill. I realized I needed to highlight
two cells containing sequential numbers.

awyatt    21 Jun 2012, 18:28
Glad you got it figured out!
awyatt    21 Jun 2012, 18:26
Not sure what to tell you, Kim. I just tried it again (exactly following the steps) in Excel 2007, and it works just as it states. Did you make sure that the values you put in B3:B4 are sequential?

Kim    21 Jun 2012, 18:25
Sorry, I didn't see the link at the bottom of the instructions. "AutoFill Won't Work as Expected" gave me the answer I needed.

Kim    21 Jun 2012, 18:20

I have tried this in three versions of Excel (03/07/10). Every time I try, the cells are copied instead of filled. Please let us know if there is a way to set Auto-fill to default to fill instead of copy.


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