The fill handle is a quick and easy way to automatically list data in Excel. It saves you time, because you can avoid entering data manually. Let’s learn how to use the fill handle in Microsoft Excel.
How to Use the Fill Handle in Excel
Imagine that you need to list out numbers in a column or row, from 1 to 50. Or, you need to list the same word many times over. In the first case, you might think that you have to type out each number. In the second, you might feel that you’ll have to copy and paste over and over.
This is where Excel’s fill handle is ready to help you. The fill handle is a smart Excel tool that analyzes a selection of data, and attempts to continue on the sequence. It’s as easy as clicking and dragging.
Let’s look at a number list. Now, Excel will need a sequence to analyze. It’s usually best to use at least three inputs to help it properly capture the desired input.
Working in column C, type 1 into cell C1. Type 2 into cell C2, and 3 into cell C3. Then, click and drag your cursor to select those three cells. Notice a small green square box in the lower right corner of the lowermost cell in your selection.
Hover over that box, and you’ll see a + sign appear. Clicking and dragging again, pull your selection downward. You’ll see Excel previewing the input as you scroll past each cell.
When you’ve reached the desired ending cell for your sequence, simply release your mouse. Excel will auto-fill the sequence – no additional typing required!
For a repeating word sequence, you’d want to type in the same word three times, and then repeat the steps.
The fill handle works with other types of data as well, including dates. Give it a try next time you need to quickly input a sequence in Excel.