The Default Setting of Auto Fill Options in Excel

By Tricia Goss

Auto Fill can help you get your work completed more quickly.
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Excel's Auto Fill options, including automatic entries based on other cells, the fill handle and other features, can make light work of spreadsheet data entry. Learning about the default features offered and how to customize them will enable you to become more efficient and tailor the application to your specific needs.

Repeated Values

By default, Excel will automatically fill in a cell with text or a combination of text and numbers if the first few characters you type match data already entered in another cell in the same column. You can press "Enter" to allow Excel to auto fill the cell or continue typing the correct information. To turn this feature off, select the "File" tab, click "Options" and choose "Advanced." Clear the "Enable AutoComplete for Cell Values" check box under Editing Options.

Fill Handle

When you select a cell or group of cells that you want to use as the basis for auto filling other cells, Excel displays the fill handle by default. Dragging the fill handle down or across the cells you want filled provides a result based on the existing data. For instance, if you select a cell containing "1" and drag the fill handle, Excel repeats the number in the selected cells, but if you select a cell containing "1" and another containing "2," Excel automatically numbers the new cells "3, 4" and so on.

Fill Command

Excel provides a fill command on the ribbon as well. To use this auto fill option, select the range of cells you want to fill and then type the data you want to use as the basis for filling other cells into the first cell. Click the "Fill" drop-down arrow in the Editing group of the Home tab and select the option you want to use.

Custom Fill Series

By default, Excel provides a few standard auto fill lists, such as days of the week and names of months, in various formats. You can create custom auto fill lists as well. Select the "File" tab, click "Options" and choose "Advanced." Click the "Edit Custom Lists" button in the General section. Select "New List" and type each list item followed by a comma into the List Entries box (for example, "North, South, East, West"), then click the "Add" button.