How Do I Auto Fill Columns in Excel?

By Kevin Krause

Many spreadsheets require the entry of a repetitive series of data or labels. This time consuming task can be eradicated by using Microsoft Excel's AutoFill functionality. By simply clicking and dragging, entire columns can be completed with both words and numbers. Even better, Excel recognizes patterns in your data and duplicates it in a smart manner.

Step 1

Open an Excel spreadsheet and enter the text you wish to use to AutoFill your column. If you wish to establish a pattern, enter the first few examples. For instance, if your column will be the months in the year, enter "January" and "February" into the first two cells in your column.

Step 2

Click on first cell in the column you wish to AutoFill.

Step 3

Click the "Fill Handle" and drag the selection box over all the cells in the column that you wish to AutoFill. The Fill Handle is the small black square in the lower-right corner of the selection box. Excel will automatically fill in all the cells selected.

Tips & Warnings

  • Excel recognizes many patterns once they are established, such as numeric adjustments, days of the week and repeating patterns of words. Simply establish the pattern in your first few cells and Excel will take it from there.