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.

Fast AutoFill

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 14, 2016)

5

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.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Resetting a Single Shortcut Key

Need to get rid of a keyboard shortcut key you previously defined? It's easy to do if you follow these steps.

Discover More

A Quick-and-Dirty Word Count

Word provides a tool that counts the number of words in a document. Here's an alternative method of calculating the number of ...

Discover More

Returning Least-Significant Digits

Do you ever have a need to return just a few digits out of a number? This tip shows different formulas you can use to return ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

AutoFilling with the Alphabet

If you need to fill a number of cells with a specific sequence of characters (such as the alphabet), there are several ways ...

Discover More

Quick AutoFill Variations

The AutoFill feature can be used for more than just incrementing information into cells. This tip explains how to access the ...

Discover More

AutoFilling with Weekdays

Need to fill a range of cells with the days of the week? Excel makes it easy to do so using AutoFill.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven minus 1?

2012-06-22 08:16:35

Kim

Allen-

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.

Thanks!


2012-06-21 18:28:03

awyatt

Glad you got it figured out!


2012-06-21 18:26:55

awyatt

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?

-Allen


2012-06-21 18:25:20

Kim

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.

Thanks


2012-06-21 18:20:52

Kim

Allen,

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.

Thanks!


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.