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Skipping Rows when Filling

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: Skipping Rows when Filling.

Bill noted that he can use the fill handle to fill a range of cells with values, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. What he wants to do, however, is to drag the fill handle and have Excel fill every other row with a value, leaving every other row blank, such as 1, blank, 2, blank, 3, blank, 4, etc. He can't seem to make it work, however.

There are a couple of ways that you can do this, all using the fill handle. The important thing to remember is that you need to (1) establish a pattern and (2) select the cells that represent the pattern before you begin dragging the fill handle.

For instance, if you want to fill a range with incrementing numbers, you could fill cell A1 with 1 and cell A2 with 2, select both cells, and then drag. The two cells establish a pattern, you selected the cells, and then Excel was able to determine what you wanted to do.

What if you fill cell A1 with 1, leave cell A2 blank, put 2 in cell A3, and then select all three cells before dragging the fill handle? You won't get what you may expect because the three cells don't establish the pattern you want. Instead, you need to leave cell A4 blank and then select the range A1:A4 before dragging. This establishes the pattern you want: number, blank, number, blank. Excel will then give you the type of fill you want.

Interestingly enough, Excel has a quirk that you can exploit when doing your filling. If you put a 1 into cell A1, select that cell, and drag downward, Excel assumes that you want to fill each cell with the number 1. However, if you put 1 into cell A1, leave cell A2 blank, select the two cells, and then drag downward, Excel assumes you want to increment the value and leave every other cell blank. So, you end up with 1, blank, 2, blank, 3, blank, etc. And therein lies the quirk: Excel assumes no increment in one fill yet assumes an increment in the other.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5405) 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: Skipping Rows when Filling.

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Comments for this tip:

Adam    01 Dec 2016, 11:50
I want to be able to skip certain cells while numbering using the fill tool, with no pattern to it. Something that would also work might be filtering my spreadsheet to only view what I want to number but the fill tool ends up only repeating the selected numbers and not continuing the numbering. Is there a way to format certain cells to skip the filling numbers? or Any suggestions?
Kailash Prajapati    01 Aug 2016, 08:18
if cell A1 to A4 is any value then A5 is automaticly fill 1

how it possible
favas    16 Sep 2015, 04:16
I need to list the rows like 1.1,1.2,1.3 in column A when the column b in the same row is not blank and continue 2.1,3.1,4.1 when the column B in the same row is a blank
david    27 Jul 2015, 23:11
This works great if you work only on one sheet. I tried populating every other row on sheet one with every row on sheet 2. I put ='sheet2'!A2 in A1, nothing in A2, 'sheet2'!A3 in A3, and nothing in A4. when I try to auto fill down selecting cells A1:A4, cell A5 shows 'sheet2'!A6. How do I fix this?
Braham    22 Nov 2014, 04:49
Thank you for you valuable tips! I have a challenge: I want to fill certain rows with numbers and skip some shaded rows - there is no pattern in this sequence.
I would appreciate a solution.


Sherin    20 Sep 2014, 02:05
Mehdi Zaidi    09 Sep 2014, 02:22
Tips provided by you is valuable.....thanks
Mani    30 Jan 2013, 05:49
Hi Blogger ,

 I Want to Know that there is any Formula is There for Adding Auto Number after two blank Rows .
 For Best Understanding i have given a link of image ..

Image Preview :- http://s2.postimage.org/k509mbfhl/sshot_1.png

As you have noted the numbers are on the url cells after two blank cells ..like that i want the forumal to enter it auto..Thank You in Advance ..

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