Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Enhanced Filling.

Enhanced Filling

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 14, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


3

Excel allows you to quickly and easily fill a series of cells with a progression of values by simply using the fill handle. This is the small black dot that appears at the lower-right corner of a cell when it is selected. Just click on the fill handle and drag to select the cells you want filled. Using this feature allows Excel to make decisions about how the cells you select should be filled.

You can gain more control over the filling process if, instead of clicking on the fill handle, you right-click on it and then drag. When you release the mouse button a Context menu appears that allows you to select the type of fill you want to perform.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12124) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Enhanced 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

Converting Numbers to Strings

VBA is great at working with both strings and numbers. At some point you may have a number you need to convert to a ...

Discover More

Using Named Ranges in a Macro

Named ranges are a great capability provided by Excel. You can define all sorts of named ranges in a workbook, but how do ...

Discover More

Graphics Marked as Changed when Comparing Documents

The tools on the Review tab of the ribbon allow you to do all sorts of markup and comparisons of documents. When ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

How Many Rows and Columns Have I Selected?

Want a quick way to tell how may rows and columns you've selected? Here's what I do when I need to know that information.

Discover More

Capitalizing Just a Surname

Changing the capitalization of text is, believe it or not, a common task in Excel. Common or not, it can be frustrating ...

Discover More

Stopping the Deletion of Cells

You can delete cells from a worksheet, and Excel will move the remaining cells either to the left or upwards. Deletions, ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 nine minus 5?

2023-01-15 23:16:47

Tomek

Hi Kiwerry:
Yes, it only works downward, but may be used on more than a single column.
I still think double-click is handy for very tall columns, better than dragging.
BTW How would Excel know that you want to fill horizontally?
For horizontal filling you have to drag. ;-)


2023-01-15 06:34:09

Kiwerry

Thanks, Allen and Tomek.
The copying on double-click mentioned by Tomek takes place downwards. I haven't seen any way of changing this behaviour.


2023-01-14 19:39:59

Tomek

Another use of the fill handle is to double-click on it. If the column to the left or right contains some values, the content of the selected cell or range will be quickly copied to match the size (number of rows) of the column beside it. The copying will stop on any non-empty cell though, and will not extend over blank cells in the neighbouring column.

If the cell selected contains formula or a value (numeric, text, etc,), it will be copied down the column.
If it contains a date, it will fill consecutive dates.
If more than a single cell is selected, Excel will try to find a pattern and copy that pattern. If it thinks it is a series, it will extend the series. This often may be different from expectation (but you can always undo).


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu 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.