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Excel – using the fill down command to autofill your spreadsheet


This tutorial is intended for the beginner at Microsoft Excel and explains the use of the “fill down” command.  An example of using this command in Excel can be found in several tutorials on this site.

Microsoft Excel contains a useful command called “fill down” which allows the contents of a cell to be populated into many cells.  This obviously saves the time required to manually type in the information and increases accuracy, however, its true potential is seen when it is used in conjunction with formulas.  When using the fill down function on a cell containing a formula it is the formula itself which is copied and not the result of the formula.  Furthermore, Excel allows for the fact that as the formula moves into a different row the cells referenced within the formula also change.

As an example:

If cell C2 contains the formula =A2+B2

When this formula is copied into cell C3 the formula will be changed to =A3+B3

This is because Excel treats the reference to the cell as relative to the cell being copied – another of my tutorials discusses the difference between relative and absolute references and it is recommended that you look at this tutorial once you have mastered this current tutorial.

Selecting the Fill Down option from the ribbon bar in Microsoft Excel

Selecting the Fill Down option from the ribbon bar in Microsoft Excel

In order to use the fill down command it is necessary to highlight the cell which contains the data or formula that is to be copied. The cells below the highlighted cell need to be dragged over then the fill down command needs activating by either:

  1.  Pressing the CTRL + D keys on the keyboard
  2.  By clicking the “fill” button on the editing section of the ribbon bar at the top of the Excel window.

You will notice that in addition to fill down it is possible to fill up, fill left and fill right.  As their names suggest they have similar properties to the fill down command and although they are not used as often they can be very useful in acheiving the required result as quickly as possible.


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2 Responses to Excel – using the fill down command to autofill your spreadsheet

  1. Pingback: Excel, Using Relative and Absolute Cell References - Absolutely PC

  2. Pingback: Microsoft Excel techniques, using the IF function - Absolutely PC

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