Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Quick AutoFill Variations.

Quick AutoFill Variations

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 2, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


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Everyone knows that when you are working on a spreadsheet and entering text, Excel attempts to be helpful and will suggest AutoFill based on the letters you type. There may, however, be times when you don't remember the exact beginning of the text, so the AutoFill feature is of little value.

One way around this conundrum that allows you to still take advantage of AutoFill is to right-click on the cell where you want to enter information and choose Pick From Drop-Down List from the resulting Context menu. Excel displays a drop-down list that shows the other items you have entered in the column, thereby allowing you to select from the list.

If you need still faster access, you can hold down the Alt key and press the Down Arrow. Excel displays the same list of items and allows you to pick the one you want. (And you don't even need to remove your hands from the keyboard!)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9049) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Quick AutoFill Variations.

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. ...

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What is five more than 4?

2020-05-05 17:41:55

BAH

I just tried this on a spreadsheet I have for recording outgoing cheques. It's set up as a table, with the following columns:

Date Sent (all numbers, formatted as date)
File # (number-letter combos, formatted as number)
Payor (all text, formatted as general)
Payee (all text, formatted as general)
Cheque # (all numbers, formatted as general)
Amount (all numbers, formatted as accounting)

This tip works on every column that has at least some letters in it, but not pure number columns, even if the formatting is the same. E.G., it works for both payor, which is all letters, but also for file #, which is a combo of letters and numbers. But any of the pure number columns - such as cheque # and amount - no matter their formatting, don't work. They just display a blank drop down box. What makes this work or not work?


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