When you work in Excel, you may find yourself with repeating values, or values in a pattern. Rather than continuing to type these manually, Excel can read and replicate them automatically. This is done using the simple, yet powerful Fill feature. Let’s learn how to Fill in Microsoft Excel.
How to Fill in Excel
Consider a column of numerical data that follows a pattern. The value in cell C1 is 15, 35 in C2, 55 in C3, and so forth. A quick look tells you that the pattern here is an increase of 20 from one cell to the next.
Now, imagine that you need to continue this list over several dozen additional cells. You could type numbers in manually. But that’s both tedious and error-prone. Instead, your best bet is to use the Fill feature in Excel.
To use Fill, begin by clicking and dragging your cursor to select the existing data. For most datasets, Excel will work best with at least three values selected. You need to ensure that any repeating pattern is captured in the selection.
Once you have data selected, it’s time to deploy Fill. It’s incredibly easy. Begin by hovering over the lower right corner of the lowest cell in your selection. When you’re in the right spot, you’ll see a black + symbol.
Then, click, hold, and drag your cursor across additional empty cells. You can make the new selection as large or small as you want. All you’re doing is telling Excel where to place new values that follow the pattern of the original selection.
When you have these selected, simply release your cursor. Excel will continue the repeating pattern over the new cells.
As you can see, Fill in Excel is the fastest way to build out new values based on existing patterns. It’s very simple and helps avoid the chance for errors and mistakes in the pattern.