Creating a Series in Excel by Dragging

There might come a day when you need to enter a series of dates or numbers into your Excel spreadsheet. Here’s a fast way to accomplish this task. Let’s say you need to enter the dates of the 31 days in July, for instance, or the numbers 5, 10, 15, and so on. You can use the fill feature in Excel to do this automatically.

To enter the dates of the days in July, start by typing 1-Jul-2012 into a cell (or use your favorite date format). Select that cell and place your cursor in the bottom right side of that cell until you see a skinny black plus sign (otherwise known as the fill handle). Click and drag the fill handle down the column or across the row. As you drag, the tooltip over the cursor shows the date that will appear in each cell. Let go of the mouse button when you are at your desired end date.

Creating an Excel series

Creating a number series in Excel

To enter the numbers 5, 10, 15, and so on, start by typing the number 5 in a cell. Then type the number 10 in the cell just below it or to its right. Highlight both cells, and then drag the fill handle in the bottom right corner of the selection down or to the right and stop when the tooltip shows the last number you want in your range. Excel will recognize the numbers 5 and 10 as the first two values in your series 5, 10, 15, and so on, and it will continue the series for you.  Just remember to highlight the beginning series, not just the first or last cell containing a number, else you will end up with a range of the same number.

In a similar way, you could type 2-Jul-2012 into one cell and 9-Jul-2012 in the cell below or to the right. Highlight both cells and then drag the fill handle to create a series of sequential Mondays starting with the first Monday in July.

For even more options, click the Auto Fill Options button after dragging with the fill handle.

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