[Excel Shortcut] Autofill Cells Fast (Windows & Mac)
Written by Kasper Langmann
Excel is a powerful tool that can simplify your data analysis and management tasks. One of the most useful features of Excel is the ability to autofill cells. This feature can save you a significant amount of time, especially when working with large datasets. In this guide, we will explore how to autofill cells quickly on both Windows and Mac systems.
Understanding Autofill in Excel
The autofill feature in Excel is designed to make repetitive tasks easier. It allows you to automatically fill cells with data that follows a pattern or is based on the data in other cells. This feature is particularly useful when you need to enter a series of numbers, dates, or even text with a specific pattern.
Autofill can be used in various ways. For example, you can use it to continue a series of numbers, automatically fill dates in a specific format, or even fill cells with custom lists that you have created. This versatility makes autofill an essential tool for anyone who regularly works with Excel.
How to Autofill Cells in Excel
Autofilling cells in Excel is a straightforward process. However, the steps can vary slightly depending on whether you are using a Windows or Mac system. Below, we will explore the steps for both systems.
Autofill Cells in Excel on Windows
To autofill cells in Excel on a Windows system, you first need to select the cell or cells that contain the data you want to use as the basis for autofilling. Once you have selected the cells, move your cursor to the bottom right corner of the selection until it turns into a small black cross. Then, click and drag the cross over the cells you want to fill.
The autofill feature will automatically fill the cells based on the data in the selected cells. For example, if you selected a cell containing the number 1 and then dragged the autofill handle over the next three cells, Excel would automatically fill those cells with the numbers 2, 3, and 4.
Autofill Cells in Excel on Mac
The process for autofilling cells in Excel on a Mac system is very similar to the process on a Windows system. However, there is one key difference. On a Mac, you need to hold down the Option key while dragging the autofill handle.
As with the Windows system, the autofill feature will automatically fill the cells based on the data in the selected cells. The autofill feature on a Mac can also continue a series of numbers, fill dates, and fill cells with custom lists.
Advanced Autofill Options
While the basic autofill feature can handle a wide range of tasks, Excel also offers advanced autofill options that can give you even more control over how your cells are filled. These options can be accessed by right-clicking the autofill handle after you have dragged it over the cells you want to fill.
The Fill Series option allows you to fill cells with a series of numbers or dates. This option is particularly useful when you need to fill a large number of cells with a specific pattern. For example, you could use the Fill Series option to fill cells with a series of dates that increase by one day each time.
Fill Formatting Only
The Fill Formatting Only option allows you to copy the formatting from the selected cells to the filled cells without copying the actual data. This option is useful when you want to apply the same formatting to a range of cells without changing the data in those cells.
Fill Without Formatting
The Fill Without Formatting option allows you to copy the data from the selected cells to the filled cells without copying the formatting. This option is useful when you want to copy data without changing the formatting of the cells.
Creating Custom Lists for Autofill
One of the most powerful features of the autofill tool is the ability to create custom lists. These lists can be used to autofill cells with a specific set of data. For example, you could create a custom list of your company’s product names and then use that list to quickly fill cells with those names.
Creating a custom list is a simple process. You just need to go to the Excel options menu, select the Advanced tab, and then click on the Edit Custom Lists button. From there, you can enter the data for your list and then use that list for autofill.
Autofill is a powerful tool that can significantly speed up your work in Excel. Whether you are using a Windows or Mac system, understanding how to use this feature can save you a significant amount of time and effort. So, start exploring the autofill feature today and see how much easier it can make your work in Excel.