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Using AutoComplete with Disjointed Lists

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: Using AutoComplete with Disjointed Lists.

The AutoComplete feature of Excel is pretty handy. When you are entering information into a cell, it automatically provides you with a list of the previous entries in the column that match what you've typed. Thus, if you type the letter T, then it lists all those entries starting with T. When you type the second letter, R, then it reduces the list to all those entries starting with TR.

There is a limit to AutoComplete, however: It will only search for matches in the column until it hits a blank cell. For instance, if you have values in the cells in A3:A17 and in A19:A26 (cell A18 is blank), then when you start to enter information in cell A27, only the entries in the range A19:A26 are used to display the AutoComplete list.

If you want to have Excel use everything in the full range (A3:A26) as fodder for the AutoComplete list, then there is no way around it—you will need to enter something in the blank cell (A18). A good choice is, perhaps, a single space. Select A18, hit the space bar, and then press Enter. The cell now contains a space, and AutoComplete will reference the entire range (A3:A26) when entering information into A27.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3266) 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: Using AutoComplete with Disjointed Lists.

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Comments for this tip:

Deepak Singh    21 May 2015, 06:09
Dear Sir,

I want know, What is the process set-up of the Auto Comleted formula in the Excel.
Please help me.

Thanks,
Deepak
Pat Eitel    29 Mar 2015, 14:42
Is there anyway you can create a dropdownlist and be able to type the first letter and have it display the items beginning with that letter in the list? Right now, all I can do is select a name from the list. I did put it in alpha order but I it's too time consuming to scroll down the list of employees to find the one I want. I tried to set up a combo list but couldn't make it work. (a little confused with the instructions from another site).
 
 

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