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.

Skipping Rows when Filling

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 20, 2018)

1

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.

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

Adding Paragraph Numbering

You may search high and low for a way to add automatic numbers to paragraphs in a document. You won't find the ...

Discover More

Using the GotoButton Field

Need to jump from one place in your document to another? One way to do this is through the user of the GotoButton field, ...

Discover More

Referring to the Last Cell

It is not unusual to use worksheets to collect information over time. As you keep adding information to the worksheet, ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Turning Off AutoFill

AutoFill can be a great timesaver when adding information to a worksheet. Even so, some users may not want the feature to ...

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

AutoFill Won't Work as Expected

AutoFill is a great tool for filling cells with data. What do you do when it doesn't work like you expect, however? ...

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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 6?

2018-01-20 09:23:59

Ray Austin

If you are copying down 4 rows then make sure you drag down a multiple of 4 rows or it will not work.
Ray


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.