#137 Excel’s Custom Fill Series

Excel’s Custom Fill Series

You probably already know that you can use Excel’s fill handle to quickly fill in several types of data series, such as days of the week and months, right?! But did you also know that you are not limited to just the ones Microsoft created for you? This week we’ll see how to create your very own custom lists that will work with the fill handle in Excel.

If you’re new to the fill handle, it is the small black square in the lower-right corner of the cell or selected range of cells. 

(If you’re still curious, you can see it in action in this previous tip.)

Fill data using a custom fill series:

To make entering a particular sequence of data (such as a list of names or regions) easier, you can create a custom fill series. A custom fill series can be based on a list of existing items on a worksheet, or you can type the list from scratch..

From an existing list of items:

1. On the worksheet, select the list of items that you want to use in the fill series.

2. From the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Custom Lists tab.

3. Verify that the list of items that you selected is displayed in the Import list from cells box, and then click Import. The items in the list that you selected are added to the Custom lists box.

4. On the worksheet, click a cell, and then type the item in the custom fill series that you want to use to start the list.

5. Drag the fill handle across the cells that you want to fill.

From scratch:

1. From the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Custom Lists tab.

2. In the Custom lists box, click New list, and then type the entries in the List entries box, beginning with the first entry. ( Press ENTER after each entry. )

3. When the list is complete, click the Add button.

4. On the worksheet, click a cell, and then type the item in the custom fill series that you want to use to start the list.

5. Drag the fill handle across the cells that you want to fill.

NOTE:You cannot edit or delete a built-in fill series (such as a fill series for months and days), but you can edit or delete a custom fill series. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Custom Lists tab. In the Custom lists box, select the list that you want to edit or delete. To edit the fill series, make the changes that you want in the List entries box, and then click Add. To delete the fill series, click Delete.

What do you, or could you, use a custom list for?

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