How to Make Excel Continue to Count up for Each Row
By Kathryn Hatashita-Lee
Microsoft Excel offers the AutoFill feature to enable you to insert a sequence of numbers and avoid the tedious task of manually entering a value in every cell. Using the fill handle, you can click and drag along the adjacent cells and fill a series of values. For example, if you want the cells in one column to show numbers from 1 to 25, you need to enter only the first two values in the first two cells to start the sequence, and then move the fill handle down the column. The cells will display an increased value on every selected row as you drag farther down the worksheet.
Insert a Series of Values
Click to select the first cell in the range. Enter the first value in the series and press “Enter.” Enter the second value in the next row of the same column and press “Enter.” For example, to count up by 2, enter “2” in the first cell, and enter “4” in the second cell, just underneath the first cell.
Click and drag to select these two cells that contain the values, and then point over the tiny green square in the lower-right corner to convert the cursor to a “+” symbol for the fill handle. Ignore the Quick Analysis button that displays near the fill handle.
Click the “+” or fill handle, and then drag down this one column to select as many rows as you need for your series. A green outline will surround this range. Release the mouse to insert the series in the selected cells.
Automatically Number the Rows
Click the first cell of the range where you want to start the numbering, and then enter “=ROW(A1)” -- without quotation marks.
Point over the lower-right corner of the cell to convert the cursor to a “+” sign, and then drag down the column to the last cell in the range.
Release the mouse to insert the numbers in the column, one value per row.
If the fill handle or “+” does not display in the lower-right corner of the highlighted cell, click the “File” tab, click “Options” in the sidebar to open the dialog box and then select “Advanced” in the sidebar. Click to add a tick to the check box for “Enable fill handle and cell drag-and-drop” in the Editing Options section. Click “OK” to save. Click the cells to select, point over the tiny green square in the lower-right corner and the “+” sign will display to show the active fill handle.
If you add, move or delete rows, the number series will not automatically update. To continue the sequence, click the two cells that display the correct sequence, and then drag the fill handle down the column to the end of the numbered range.
If you are applying the ROW function and want to insert more rows of data with updated numbers, convert the range of data to an Excel table. Select the range of cells, click the “Insert” tab and then click “Table” in the Tables group. Click “OK” to convert the selected data to an Excel table.
The fill handle also works with months. For example, enter “January” in one cell and then enter “February" in the adjacent cell. Select these two cells, click the fill handle or “+” symbol in the lower right corner and drag. Release the mouse to display the series of months.
Excel will also insert decreasing values if you set up the first two cells with decreasing values. For example, enter "-5" and "-10" to start the sequence, and then drag the "+" or fill handle symbol.
Information in this article applies to Microsoft Excel 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
- Microsoft Office: Automatically Number Rows, Fill a Column with a Series of Numbers
- Microsoft Office: Display or Hide the Fill Handle
- Microsoft Office: Fill Data Automatically in Worksheet Cells, Fill Data in Adjacent Cells by Using the Fill Handle
- Microsoft Office: Create or Delete an Excel Table in a Worksheet
- Microsoft Office: Video: AutoFill and Flash Fill