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Microsoft Excel 2003/2004

Using the Fill Command

Rather than using copy and paste, you can use the Fill command to repeat information to contiguous cells. If the first cell contains a formula, the formula will be repeated in the additional cells. If the first cell contains text, the text will be repeated in the additional cells.

NOTE: If Excel recognizes a pattern in the information you entered, the additional cells will contain the next item in the pattern. For example, if the first cell contains the day Sunday, Excel will fill the following cells with Monday, Tuesday, etc. Other examples include filling for the months of the year and hours of the day.

return to topFilling Cells

Filling Cells: Menu Option

This option copies (repeats) the information from one cell to another. To extend the series, refer to the Mouse Option.

  1. Type the information (cell contents or formula) in the first cell of the group

  2. Starting with the cell containing the contents to be copied, select the group of cells to be filled

  3. From the Edit menu, select Fill » Down or Right  
    OR
    Windows: Press [Ctrl] + [D] or [Ctrl] + [R], respectively
    Macintosh: Press [control]+ [D] or [control] + [R], respectively

Filling Cells: Mouse Option

Using this option will extend the data in the series to the selected cells.

  1. Type the information (cell contents or formula) in the first cell of the group

  2. In this cell, move your pointer over the fill corner so your pointer changes into crosshairs
    NOTE: Before filling, verify that the pointer changes into crosshairs.
     Fill Corner fill pointer crosshairs 

  3. When your pointer changes into crosshairs, click and hold the crosshairs

  4. Drag the crosshairs in the direction you want the information to be copied
    NOTES:
    You can drag the corner in any one direction either to the left, right, up, or down.
    You can move in only one direction at a time.

  5. Release the mouse button
    The information is extended.

return to topCreating Custom Fills

Custom fills allow you to select what information you want repeated.

For example, if you typed the UW-Eau Claire terms (Fall, Winterim, Spring, Interim and Summer) several times, custom fills allows you to automate the process. Using the regular Fill function would start at Fall and would repeat Fall over and over again. With a custom fill, when you type Fall and use the Fill command, Winterim, Spring, Interim, and Summer will be entered in the adjacent cells.

This feature is also handy when using Excel to create a grade book. For example, you could create a Custom Fill for letter grades (e.g., A, A-, B+, B, B-, ..., F).

NOTE: Custom fills will work only with word lists. Lists of values do not work consistently. 

Creating a Custom Fill

Windows:

  1. From the Tools menu, select Options…
    The Options dialog box appears.

  2. Select the Custom Lists tab

  3. From the Custom lists scroll box, select NEW LIST

  4. In the List entries text box, type the information you want to be added in the custom fill, pressing [Enter] after each entry
    EXAMPLE: A, A-, B+, B, B-, ..., F
    Options dialog box - Custom Lists tab

  5. Click ADD
    Your new entries appear in the Custom lists scroll list.

  6. Click OK

Macintosh:

  1. From the Excel menu, select Preferences…
    The Preferences dialog box appears.

  2. From the list on the left, select Custom Lists

  3. From the Custom lists scroll box, select NEW LIST

  4. In the List entries text box, type the information you want to be added in the custom fill, pressing [return] after each entry
    EXAMPLE: A, A-, B+, B, B-, ..., F
    Preferences dialog box - Custom Lists tab

  5. Click ADD
    Your new entries appear in the Custom lists scroll box.

  6. Click OK

Importing Custom Fills

  1. Select the cells which contain the information you want to repeat
    NOTE: Excel will use only the information you select and will not continue trends.

  2. Windows: From the Tools menu, select Options...
    The Options dialog box appears.
    Macintosh: From the Excel menu, select Preferences...
    The Preferences dialog box appears.

  3. Windows: Select the Custom Lists tab
    Macintosh: From the list on the left, select Custom Lists

  4. Click IMPORT
    Your selection appears in the List entries text box.
    List entires - import list sample

  5. Click OK
    You are returned to your data sheet.

Using a Custom Fill

  1. To use your custom fill, place the cell pointer in any cell and type the first entry
    EXAMPLE: A

  2. With the pointer positioned over the fill corner, click and hold the mouse button

  3. Drag the corner in the direction you want the information to be copied
    NOTE: For more information about filling cells, refer to Filling Cells: Mouse Option.

  4. Release the mouse button
    The cells will be filled with the information you provided.

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