Excel Basics:

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
Did you want Working with Numbers: 2007,2010,2013,2016  or españolIcon: Change web

It is entirely boring to type in the same data over and over. And it certainly is not interesting to number lines 1, 2, 3, ... or fill in months of the year or days of the week. Excel's AutoComplete and AutoFill features are just the thing to handle these repetitious actions!

Left click the mouse Click the image below to see an example of how AutoFill works. Click again to stop the animation.

animation of AutoFill for days of the week
Left click the mouse AutoFill can fill in the 
days of the week for you.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Numbers

Before you start...

Project 1: Excel IntroTo subtopics

Project 2: Excel Basics  
Getting StartedTo subtopics      
    ArrangeTo subtopics  
    AutoFill arrow to open subtopi
    Icon - FootprintData
    Icon - FootprintFormulas reference table 
    Icon - FootprintAutoSum
    FinishTo subtopics
    Exercise" ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: Format & ArrangeTo subtopics

Project 4: Groups & FormulasTo subtopics

Project 5: DesignTo subtopics



Excel keeps a list of what you have already entered in each column. When you start entering data in a new cell, Excel may offer to complete your typing for you. For example, if you are entering a list of names and addresses, it is likely that many of them will have the same city and state and even the same street. It can save a lot of typing if you let Excel finish out the ones that repeat. 

AutoComplete offers to finish your typing
After typing a C in cell F3, 
Excel offers to complete the word.

To accept Excel suggestion, just make another cell active by doing one of these actions: 

  • pressing ENTER

  • pressing TAB

  • pressing an arrow key

  • clicking in a different cell

Excel will not make a suggestion unless it sees only one choice in the list of things you have already typed in that column.


You use AutoFill to:

  • copy data to other cells in the row or column

  • continue a pattern for data 

Fill handleTo use AutoFill, you just select a cell or cells and drag the fill handle in the bottom right corner of the selection across the cells you want to fill.

Left click the mouse Click the images below to see an animation of AutoFill at work. Click again to stop the animation.

Copy numbers:

Widgets sheet

Left click the mouse Data from first row copied down the columns

Tickets spreadsheet

Left click the mouse Pattern of data copied down the columns

Excel can also work with patterns of words. If your sheet is a budget or a meeting calendar, for example, you will might list the months of the year. Once you have January typed in, AutoFill can complete the rest of the months for you. Pretty smart!

Excel also recognizes the days of the week, quarters of the year, and any Custom List that you have created. 

animation of AutoFill filling in months

Left click the mouse AutoFill can fill in 
the months of the year.

If you establish a pattern of any kind, Excel can repeat it down the column or across a row.

animation of AutoFill filling in a series

Left click the mouse AutoFill repeats the sequence

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Last updated: 02 May 2012