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AutoFill time spans

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With the AutoFill feature, you can automatically fill cells with data that follow a pattern or series.

  1. Select a cell and type the first word of a series (e.g. type "January" for a 12-month series).

  2. Select the fill handle  handle  at the lower-right corner of the cell, hold down, and drag to fill the rest of the series. Fill handles can be dragged up, down, or across a spreadsheet.

    Note: If you only enter a three-letter abbreviation (e.g. "Jan") in the cell, AutoFill will automatically fill in the rest of the series.

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Fill a formula down into adjacent cells

Now the Auto Fill feature allows us to quickly put in monthly entries, and day of the week entries, as well as a few others.

So let's imagine I need January here. I'll type it.

And even before I complete the entry, I can point to the lower right hand corner of that cell, that's called the fill handle, the mouse pointer changes to a thin Plus.

And when it does, I'll hold down the left mouse button and drag rightward. Notice how the popup tip below suggests what is about to go into these cells. March, April, May, June, and then let go of the right mouse button and we have all those entries there.

Later of course we would like to, and we probably will, align them on the right.

Now, although we're not going to be putting this on our actual worksheet, I'm gonna go down to cell A6 and point out a few aspects of this.

First of all, you can start with any month.

Maybe I'll start with March. Now I usually wouldn't start there, but this time I'm going to drag downward.

And we see what's about to happen. April, May, June. If I drag farther, eventually we'll come to December, it'll just start all over again like this.

As you drag downward or rightward, if your beginning entry is one of the months, you will automatically get the next month, next month, and next month, and so on.

Occasionally but rarely you might drag upward, and again we can start with any month.

Here's April. This time, I'll drag upward. This is going to go backward chronologically.

March and February we're gonna see there.

Left row would do the same as that, too. We can also use abbreviations but they must be three letters.

So typically, again, most often you probably start with January with a simple Jan.

We'll get it started. Drag from the corner just a few cells, you see what's happening.

Dragging rightward the same kind of thing would happen this way of course.

I really don't wanna keep this data here, I could press Ctrl+ Z, that means undo, So I'd like to undo my last action and the one before it.

So I will press Ctrl+ Z repeatedly here to get rid of all this data.

We also could've highlighted the data and pressed delete.

This works for days of the week as well. Full spellings or three letter abbreviations. Never start with Tues or Thur.

You'll simply get a repeat. So we see what's happening. If we're ever going to use this here somehow, we woulD make column D wider.

We'll get to that later. Drag downward, you'd expect to see the same thing.

If you do happen to start with one of these four letter abbreviations, remember that will not work, you'll simply get a repeat of this. Like that.

Now not only do we have these, we also have a few others, I'll just point out a few then we'll get rid of this data.

Any time you put in the letter Q followed by or preceded by the numbers one, two, three, or four, Excel assumes you're talking about or are about to enter quarters.

And so if we drag a bit too far here from the corner, it'll simply start over.

That also works with Q-T-R. It also works with the word quarter.

And nearly any combination with the numbers one, two, three and four, we see some more of these.

And you could also do these with dates and with times. If you were to put in a date, here's a date, 7/8/15, enter.

After putting in a date, drag from the lower right hand corner, drag down, you'll automatically get the next date.

If we keep dragging, we'll get the Next Day, Next Day, Next Day.

Drag upward, we'll get the previous day. And there are other techniques here we can use, too, with Auto Fill, so take advantage of it. It's handy, it's fast.

So we've seen some examples of how Auto Fill quickly allows us to put in monthly entries, and, where needed, day of the week entries or even dates and quarters when appropriate.

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