In Microsoft Excel the ability to auto fill columns or rows with subsequent and logical values in a series is a great time saver. We can auto fill weekdays, months, or numbers in a sequence, all pre programmed in for our convenience.
All we need to do is type in the first couple of values and then drag the fill handle and Excel does all of the rest of the hard work. The fill handle is the small dot or square in the bottom of the active cell. Excel will automatically recognize the cell contents as part of s series and when dragged will auto fill the contents.
So, you may ask, are we restricted to using the built in lists that are most kindly provided with Excel?. No we are not.
We can add in our own custom lists- absolutely anything we want to- for example- employee names, class members, product codes we use all of the time. All we need to do is pre- program these into Excel as a custom list, then type the first value of the list drag the fill handle as normal and your data will be auto filled.
There are two quick ways to create your own customized Excel list. Let’s work through an example using both methods.
The first method is to type in your list that you want Excel to auto fill.
- File Tab
- Options- the options dialog box will appear
- Advanced Tab- the Advanced Options appear in the right hand pane image
- Click Edit Custom Lists In the General Section- the Custom Lists Dialog Box will appear
- Click inside List Entries and type your list items in the order you want them to be auto filled. This is really important, type the list in the exact order
- So, in this example type the following Apples, Oranges, Pears, Bananas
- Click OK twice to save your new list
So, that is the first method, lets look at the second method which makes use of an already ordered list that you have in an Excel work book.
- Open your work book or navigate to the work sheet that contains your list of items
- Repeats steps 1 to 4 in the above instructions
- Use the data selection dialog box to specify the range of cells that contains your list
- Hit Import
- Hit OK
Your list will now be imported just as if you had typed them in, as in the first method described above.
Adding into Excel customized lists no doubt will you save you time and help you work smarter and faster within Microsoft Excel.